combat episodes…

he’d seen
every
john wayne
movie
and
every
episode
of
cops
his
black
spit shined
boots
set off
his
neatly pressed
military
fatigues
and
sheriff’s badge
looking
totally
combat ready
carrying
the M4 carbine
slung
across
his chest
he was
well prepared
for
his starring
role
so with cameras
rolling
the team
burst
into
the family’s home
shattering
the wooden door
with
explosives
then
flash grenades
to
dramatize
their entry
finding
crying children
mother
naked
in bed
father
slammed
to
the floor
as
he tried to defend
those
he loved
then
shots fired
teenage son
in pool
of
innocent blood
dark like
his skin
radio interrupts
the production
filming
they’re
at
the wrong
address

pronouncement of death…

gather up the clouds
so we may darken the sky
another soul’s died
no one ever known to you
just another nameless face
but i implore you
to offer a simple prayer
that those loved can heal

 

midnight torment…

night embraces you
in cloth of hidden shadows
with sequin street lights
pulsing through the growing fog
sanctuary for nightmares
moments unwanted
making you conscious of death
and unable to sleep

 

and the joke’s on us…

like
a proverbial joke
we can see
the light
at the end
of
the tunnel
but
here’s the punchline
it’s
death’s train
all the stations
along
the
way
life’s stages
were places
we
could not stay
no matter
how much
we enjoyed
them
so
here
we are
living
another platitude
looking death in the face

 

cost of prosperity…

marble tokens
of
the excluded
sacrificed
for
the
included

 

ain’t been a good year…

they’re taking my sister’s ashes
to the beach she always enjoyed
guess it beats being stuck inside
icu with all those damn tubes
but somehow
it’s hard to be consoled
there’s three of us left
the oldest and the youngest
and me
in the middle
the three of us
are feeling well for our age
but somehow
it’s hard to be consoled
we finally got some decent rain
and things are greening up
this was the year
she planned to visit
getting away from her city apartment
wanting to see
the famed california lifestyle
she would have enjoyed it here
all of the glitter and such
but somehow
it’s hard to be consoled
hospital did all that they could
and in fact
she had shown some real progress
but couldn’t breath on her own
the new president says
he’s really going to address
the pandemic
not like the last guy
but somehow
it’s hard to be consoled
did i mention
they’re taking my sister’s ashes
to the beach she always enjoyed

 

vessel…

these are not
my emotions
this anger
and fear
is older than
my years
upon this earth
it is the taste
of dried blood
and the dust
of those once
enslaved
freed by death
to wander with
whatever winds
reach into soul
to reanimate
their words
so their sorrow
and stories
can be retold
these are not
my words
so expect
no apologies
or
absolution
of social sins
the dead
cannot make
such offerings
to the living
they can only
recall the sins
you’ve lived
and
the pain
you’ve bestowed