Friday, December 17, 2010




Everybody’s indifference looks Olympian to them.

The stasis of a god-view fixed in time.

Fate forestalled.

And no call to action.

The big picture makes pixels of us all.

Sins of omission.

Less drama in hell

and no way to punish someone

for something they didn’t do.

A great sea of recipiency taking it all in

like the false testimony of the last river

to ever see fish.

No one wants blood seeping through their frivolity

like the wounded poppy of a six year old Liberian rape victim

or an eleven year old Palestinian soccer star

who lost his leg like a amputated olive grove

aiming for the goalposts

like the clitoral pillars of Delilah

that Samson pulled down

when his hair grew back.

History will find us all lacking

when it gets right down to the motherless moment.

A poverty of riches.

So many points of view.

So many cerebral distractions.

Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle applied to starving children

with a genius for fear.

You can’t judge a sacred city

until you know what’s going on in its backalleys.

It’s the same way with poems

and the tragic silence between their lines.

A good man tries to make a Vatican out of a refugee camp

but you look at the world

as if there were a design behind everything

that was working it out in its own good time

like a cholera epidemic in Haiti

or rabies in the drinking water

of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

and the most sublime thing you could do

being a human with an acute eye on the scope of things

is not to interfere.

Not to notice the climate change in the atmosphere over Auschwitz

that sometimes burnt holes in your umbrella.

To be intimately blind to the truth

but call it a cosmic eclipse

that portends the end of the world

like a time-released sedative that went a step too far

while you were sleepwalking.

Your eyelids are too big for your eyes.

Your voice too weak for words.

Your mind is sorting through your thoughts

looking for itself

like a piece of straw

in a haystack of needles.

You pray to God not to be given

the short end of the stick

when it comes down to a draw

to see who will go first

and he says

the first shall be last

and the last shall be first

but you don’t know how to listen

to things far away from here

as if they were near

and things get worse worser worst.

Everyone keeps their word these days

like clothes they take on and off

in the designer dreamwombs of the truth.

And that which should never have happened again and again and again

goes on proliferating itself like a repeating decimal

that can’t get a grip on itself.

You can read the wall

but not the writing

because your post-doctorally illiterate.

And your heart’s got as much to do with it

as a child in southeast Asia poisoned by your hard drive

like Eve when she ate the apple

on the deleted tree of knowledge.

Your good better best is cursed.

You drive the garden out of the human

like an advancing desert

that doesn’t believe in global warming.

You eat the whole loaf

and disperse the crumbs

like the foreign policy

that sustains your charity.

But compassion doesn’t have a will of its own

or a subsidized army.

It doesn’t liberate children

by enslaving them in their own defense.

You can’t fix a mental rheostat to a feeling.

You can’t cut a budget like a child’s only hope

and call it healing.

You can’t say you care

because you have children of your own

and it’s easy to empathize

with the fathers and mothers of southern Sudan.

Is it?

When have you ever looked upon the future of your next breath

and known you were stealing from death?

When have you ever looked upon your children

and prayed to the silence as if it were listening

that they live long enough

to forget they ever had a childhood?