Poetry from 2016-2017

Since a bunch of my poems from the past seem to have prophetic significance, here’s some stuff I wrote a few years ago.

 

An Epitome of Reality

The Earth is a living thing:
Through the denseness up top
Electricity sparks
The glitter of neurons jump
Joyously from one cloud to the next,
Then spiral down to the surface
To give a jolt to the heart.

Surface: grass, a network of green hairs
Springing up to greet the energy coursing from above.
But it has been infested by lice—
Literal trash clogging the growth of new life
Is it any wonder at the body’s need for a good washing?

Body: from top to toes
Nerve ending dangle
Sending a fleet
Of mangled messages to the core;
Each beat a resounding pulse
Into the universe’s stethoscope

 

Ode to the Water Giver

Faithfully you draw upon
Lime crusted copper pipes,
Though your sides be beaten
And humble visage defaced
With careless coats of grime

Your current runs clear
Despite stagnant waters
Twisting in rusted rings
Around the spout from which
Cold lash of life hits tongue

So long as we hear
That deep, steady hum
From within your insulated heart,
May we aspire to be
As continuously giving

(Inspired by the rusted water fountain outside my classroom)

 

News Flash

Blood drips down barbed wire fences
From Bangladesh to Turkey
Children dying to find passage

A little boy in Africa
Crouches beside a murky yellow puddle
About to take a drink;

Last night a father held his toddler
Beneath a thin cotton blanket
To stave off freezing rain

A baby’s smothered cry calls
From inside that plastic bag–
How can you walk away?

 

Promises Painted on Eggshells

Hushed winds along the shortened coast send

Soft piles of shit across our cliffs of sand.

How rustling papers do silence the storm,

As money shifts from hand to hands

Palms take those bills poisoned in secrecy

Funding gold-plated pillows over boss’s bed:

Here, governments based on publicity;

The celebrity parties move the head;

Blue-blood transfused by a well-known name,

From land to sea and back in once again.

No one looks around anymore. It’s all the same:

The leaders play to slay the fattened hens

Our drunken flies cover honey-coated lies–

The leavening is dead, no room to rise.

 

On Our Own Soil

Our world crumbles into the temple we built
On vaults we thought would withstand mortar;
But those vaults have long been emptied

This plan hatched long before
We blinked away the sand covering our heads;
Our eyes play peek-a-boo through feathers
As we run like headless chicken

 

It’s Hard to Write About America

The rich say, “I worked hard for my money,
No one should take it away from me”;
Yet they started out with a Harvard Degree
Their parent’s pedigree, and oh—
Just a million-dollar loan from Daddy.

It seems the poor
Only just have their foot in the door
Before they are judged
For being a little larger than average;
Project Welfare a forced cycle of abuse.

The middle class sees the poor man’s fridge
And says he’s too beat to be eating treats;
They forget how expensive good food can be.
Minorities stuck eating cookies and Mickey D’s;
Wondering why they’re accused of living off disability.

Teachers mistreated,
Doctors spit upon
Police on the hit list
Vets sit on the streets
And there’s a grandma out there
Somewhere,
Still calling black folks
“Nigger,”
While kids think it’s okay
To social profile each other.

As far as we’ve come
As a whole,
It’s not true for us to say:
“Indivisible,” anymore
We’re without liberty and justice
For all.”

 

Down the street

The neighbor’s son photographs
Their silhouettes
Against the bright white face of a full moon

Cries erupt night’s
Still, blue, posturing

Bodies trip over bodies
Cold and glistening
Cubic zirconium coated on the dew damp lawn

 

The Song of the Red White and Blue

She touches her husband
And prays
His eyes flutter against her palm
Little doors opening to let the light in

Her fingers trace a portrait drawn by the sun:
Uneven lines scribbled within layers of cracked skin
Eyes rough trenches dug for the dead and
Still collecting puddles

She hears the song of sirens
And learns what it means to be shipwrecked

 

Regret Lives in the Attic

Cluttered books of fairytales,
Cobwebbed Chantilly lace chairs,
Redwood bed, matching dresser,
A gilt-edged vintage painting.
Copper pots and fur coats, boxed,
Sitting in a darkened loft…

Creaking staircase, mildewed wood
A dangling line
Leading to
A single burnt out light bulb

This secret entrance seals away
The memory of an inheritance
Left behind by a grand mother
You always forgot to call back

 

A Eulogy to Youth

To the days you stayed up
Beyond the breaking dawn,
To loitering in bed
Past six in the mornin’

To moments when high heels
Were no strain on the back,
To nights out in town
Longer than 10 o’clock

To not regretting the past;
Never doubting the future–
Before coffee stained teeth or
Red-streaked eyes
Could replace youthful vigor

When fueling the selfish,
Indestructible ego
Was the norm;
And when having no one else to live for
Meant you could play out in the storm

To those days when regrets were hid beneath the surface,
And back when life seemed to have a purpose

To the times you thought you could never die,
And to never realizing
How quickly life could pass you by

 

(2017)

Challenge Coins

1)A secret handshake

To a doe-eyed Asian female

left a little present

But it was not enough to cover the cost of what remained after nine months

2)Lifting the pillow reveals

Proof of your profession

Perhaps a lifetime of servitude

Whether or not you signed up of your own freewill

3)Whip it out and slam it down

After the drink is done

Whoever doesn’t have theirs has to pay

Never mind that the one paying is almost always the drunkest

 

They make it a challenge to see who can collect the most

Tossing them about as if candy

Oh noble service members:

How many have you caught in your shadow box?

Do you even remember who it’s from?

(Challenge coins are a historic military tradition that traces its roots to the Imperial British Navy, if not earlier. Back then whenever a Navy crew needed more sailors, when they hit port they would sneak a special coin into the possession of young men they find in tavern. The next day when the before the ship embarked again they the Navy Captain would have his men search the tavern for crewmembers, and anyone with the coin was forced onto the ship. If they objected, they were put into the brig as deserters. The more modern picture of challenge coins is that they’re used in drinking games of crewmembers in port: whoever doesn’t have their coin has to pay for the round of drinks. Challenge coins were often given away as mementos as well. In today Navy, every ship has a challenge coin, and high ranking officials have their own specially made coin which they give as a reward to recognize outstanding Sailors.

I was inspired to write this mimic poem after Lucky Fish, which combines historical elements with satire, and starts off tallying ways to feel lucky. I used my historical knowledge of challenge coins and turned something specific into a kind of double meaning. I was trying to address the issue of sexual mistreatment of women from them military men they encounter in port stops. For instance, it is very common for Sailors and Marines to visit women/prostitutes in port stops, never caring whether they knock a girl up or not because they won’t be around later to take care of the child.)

 

The Fixer Had A Little Cat

The Fixer had a little cat
Ass as white as snow
And everywhere The Fixer went
The cat was sure to go

She followed him to hell one day
Which was against the rule
It made the burglars laugh and play
To see The Fixer get schooled

So Jesus Christ turned her out
But still she lingered near,
And waited patiently about
Till The Fixer did appear.

Why does the cat love The Fixer so?
The eager bitches cry;
Why the cat loves hell, you know,
Jesus Christ did reply.

(A homework assignment where we took words from a book and used it to create a poem. This is based of the graphic novel about a guy named “The Fixer” and his love-hate relationship with cat woman. I don’t remember the name of the graphic novel anymore though)

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