Wanted Alive, Not Dead
He knew his blood must fall to earth like red
dew from heaven on leaves of corn. This debt
due he had to pay. The community
he loved would thrash him like wheat all along
the route—whips with nails; needle punctures; feet
fists thudding on yellow flesh; curses hurled.
This torment he must endure for their sake.
Cross Keys wanted to know the origins—
dust storming brigands on horseback hacking
away at white flesh—men, women, children.
He needed a scribe to re-mark pages—
tales dispersed at home & afar—a means
for his reentry to the human fold.
His vision of Christ was unforgiving.
20 October 2006
* * *
Long Live the Birds
We travel in the dark of the moon, weighed
down by traditions—twisted, falsified
while the ideologies of bombs burst
deconstructing body & bricks in smoke.
More nothingness sinks into the cold hearts
of those crying we make peace with power.
Who remembers Atlanta, Coventry,
or Fallujah after the screen goes black—
the souls, the dear lives we reduce to ruins?
Even as the newscaster counts the dead,
those leveled by bullets & canon fire
the birds continue to sing—Mockingbird
chatters on, sparrows remain playful, crows
rally. Buzzards peck morsels. Champagne flows.
21 October 2006
* * *
Mules & Men
We remain in the traces, inside drawn
lines, proscribed avenues for refueling—
where our liberation scenarios
leave us dreaming of a brighter future.
The phases of the moon, movement of clouds,
sparrows on fire escapes go unnoted.
This is the way of the world, they tell us.
Bridles hung upon wooden pegs—for hours,
days, weeks, months . . . as we romp on a grassy
hill—are concessions as well as choices.
Maybe this drafted life is what freedom
is for we who live on the borders, or
sleep on cold pavement of skyscrapers, or
hold our pants in hand outside palaces.
22 October 2006
* * *
Of Things Unseen
lay judges who murder the spirit
crooked smiles in elevated chairs
us nervous, angry. We won’t pile
on burning pyres for Utopia.
not frightened of storms, however dark.
winds may gather us up, as they will
sheets & towels, shirts & pants pinned to
clothes line. Our lives are undiminished.
the earth & moon our orbit is fixed
the variations of seasons.
come what may. Our liberation is
certain. We won’t always be troubled with
minds trapped in dark odiferous ships.
Our bold soundings will fracture
23 October 2006
* * *
Susquehanna trees boast the foliage of autumn—
yellow, bright orange, deep reds on green
cross thrice over its languorous
to the sea. We rumble through forests
rails laden with crowds & skyscrapers
slow, quiet gait of deer on dry leaves.
two days I hobbled out to Flatbush
back to Times Square’s flashing neon.
through broad avenues of tourists
catch the A Train to Schomburg’s Harlem.
black space interludes of spooks & ghosts
meditate on these underworld scenes—
historical freaks . . . dreadful skeletons—
& how tongues are the cause of our
24 October 2006
* * *
Everlasting Bursting Plums
mother’s yard flowers are blooming red
white in this chilled autumn noonday sun
fallen leaves fly about in the wind.
brown eyes embrace this rugged beauty.
hardy folk haunting is not yet dead.
swan songs of its death came far too soon.
the pyramids of sawdust . . . their smoke
now only “an everlasting song.”
the purple bark of profligate pines,
sprayed needles . . . golden horizons remain.
“changing same” with its African mask
delights us yet as a vibrant difference.
still can be “a force for real good” like
Trane’s hoodoo-filled tunes in “A
25 October 2006
* * *
Monsters in the Bell Horn
white clouds & autumn leaves are absent
rhythmic silences of our dreamscapes.
smoke, fumes, concrete sirens & red lights
us behind locked doors & drawn curtains.
notes for condos expand, while freedom
screeches globally. Dancing in the street
only in scenes of firing guns
curses, tearful dirges dressed in black.
teams of raging revenge chorus youth
gray hairs cast & finger deadly bombs.
a live audience for programmed pain
mutes our creative dreams & visions.
daily waste . . . minstrelsy for pensions—
these price tags on our ax can be
26 October 2006