Monday, April 24, 2006

I Forgot To Put A Quarter In The (Poetry) Meter

On jagged peaks lower than despair:
Sits a barefoot child,
Hair running wild,
And clear blue eyes looking out to nowhere.

I don’t remember what it was like then:
Maybe like a cloud,
So very proud,
And no one ever said just be like them.

We weren’t running in squares circled:
Happy and sate,
More food than plate,
And cheeks were not yet puffed and purpled.

But now the cheeks are running with blackest coal:
Mind is coiled,
Soul is soiled,
And we wipe the dirt with a snow-white prayer shawl.

Now the child cries out to a trans-parent:
Tongue is blistered,
Cry is whispered,
And things that normally are now aren’t.

Back home they all gather by the fireplace:
Toothy grins,
Washed from sins,
And no screeching scars on this higher-face.

Oh but no flame reflects in these blue eyes:
Only bland ice,
No salt or spice,
And warmth can only be found in a few lies.

The child is imprisoned in the grownup:
Keyless chains,
Horseless reins,
And purity lies in a pile of truth thrown up.

Purity was never easy for a pig to digest:
Like the flu,
And you know even before the blood test.

So you are about to toss your cookies:
Chocolate chip,
Jumping ship,
And your child is two-to-one at the bookies.

A sign says: the blue eyes are forever closed:
You bet and lost,
At what a cost!
But signs always lie: the eyes only dozed.

bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbDo you believe in signs or do you believe in truth?
bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbIs it the man who bites the hand that feeds or is it the tooth?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

For Questions

Shadows crawl over the world.
Are painted in a zebra

Wonder what the world would
If the view were not filtered through

Eyes, so full of emptiness, don’t even blink when the child is whipped. Child, branded by whip and scar, looks into the empty eyes and sees a reflection of a stranger vaguely familiar – it is himself.

He doesn’t understand why the eyes won’t do anything to help him. The eyes turn away and the child sees the smooth crisscrosses on his father’s back. Now he understands. His father too was once a child.

As he grows, the scars begin to close over the raw pain and a tough shell, a crust really, forms over that which was once called delicate. He has joined the family tradition – a slave to his master, just like his father.

Bound wrist to wrist, father and son lay brick after brick, building a pyramid to nowhere. Coarse clothe, like blistered palms, burn the sweaty skin off their shoulders – and smooth scar meets worn scab like foamy wave meeting spongy sand.

Child watches the sun set through the bars. Moon, working the graveyard shift, seems to be dressed in prisoners black and white pinstripes. At a closer look, it is the bars that are creating the pinstripe illusion.

(A slave seems to project his slavery unto others. And it is true: if there be but one slave in this world, then we, the free, are all slaves, shackled to that man’s lack of freedom.)

During those nights, looking at the stars, a million diamonds sown into crushed velvet, the Child’s mind wanders: Why am I a slave? Why is he a master? Why am I confined to complacency, shackled to mortality, barred to boredom, chained to impossibilities, cuffed to ordinary? Why can I not just break out, reach for that crushed velvet – who knows, I may just grab a diamond?

In the purple haze of before sun’s budding and slave’s toiling, Child asks Father all of these questions. Child, before Father’s scar covers his eyes, sees a glimpse of something he cannot word, though we, the so called “free”, with our dictionaries and thesauruses, would recognize it as pain. Quicker than its arrival into Father’s eyes is its departure, and therefore Child thinks it a trick of dawn’s awakening. Father tells Child, we are slaves, and slaves have no right to ask questions. But why are we slaves? That’s just the way it is; don’t waste your energy on childish questions, save it for your bricklaying. Forget your questions.

But telling a child to forget is like telling an adult to rebel, and as child grows, though scars grow as well, he always remembers his questions and sneaks peaks out the bars into the unknown.

Now older (it is difficult to tell a slaves exact age), he feels something inside of him, below scar tissue and under calloused skin. He doesn’t recognize it, though it is somewhat familiar – kind of like his childhood face.

That night, instead of collapsing on his stone bed, he looks through the bars – and those million lights in the dark unknown set off a million lights in his dark unknown. Questions, long buried under a thousand bricks, climb to the surface.

In that same purple haze of before sun’s budding and slave’s toiling, he gathers his friends – all young enough to revolt yet old enough to be taken seriously – and asks them his questions. They say we have asked the same questions and have gotten the same answers.

As the darkness of the crushed velvet illuminates the million stars (it’s funny how the brightest things are illuminated in the darkest places), the slaves join arms and questions in revolt. As there are inevitably more slaves than masters (for many reasons), and now nothing, not even their steel silence, coming between them, the slaves easily bust through the iron(y) bars and barb(ed) wire.

They are free at last. Free from scars. Free from masters. Free to ask questions – why should we not, I ask you?

(Though a bit abstract – how else to relate the struggles and limits of ones being? – I have tried to portray the going out of slavery, both personally and globally, in the light of a metaphor, one which I hope was more “freeing” than “enslaving”. May we, the “young enough to revolt yet old enough to be taken seriously”, never except that which is imposed upon us, and always question that which seems wrong.

A Happy and Kosher Passover.)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Title Would Give It Away

Smile upon me, oh my faithful son.
Cry beneath me, o selfless servant.
Be so kind to pardon this uh-pun
You watchers who be so observant:
Please unravel this riddle I spun.

I see with my ears; with eyes I hear.
I’ve known much status but little quo.
I am neither here nor am I there.
Of ignorance I will never know.
Of indifference I could not care.

Sure I can walk down the beaten path –
But I can beat my own all the same.
Yes I’ve inspired in Him a wrath –
But merely one tear and He is tame.
It is an old joke yet still I laugh.

I cannot speak but I have said much.
I cannot walk but I have wandered.
I cannot feel but all I can touch.
I cannot think but I have pondered.
I cannot limp but I have a crutch.

[Eros eroding the bottom lines.
Pieces peace together the fixture.
Axioms axing axis-confines.
Scholars de-scripting a new scripture.
Termites de-terminating de-vines.

Refurbished reefers re-ding re-fines.
Deities depicting de-picture.
Signor’s signature signing de-signs.
Mixing minxes mixing the mixture.
Sum-one sum-where as-summing sum-times.]

I’m a-verse to the itty-bitty.
Never liked getting lost in de-tale.
But when it gets to nitty-gritty,
I like to purchase bulk in re-tail.
And that’s me in a witty-ditty.

[Am I the reader or the writer?
who am i who are you Cigarette or lighter?

Are you the writer or the reader?
who am i who are you Follower or leader?]