EVERYBODY’S INDIFFERENCE LOOKS OLYMPIAN TO THEM
Everybody’s indifference looks Olympian to them.
The stasis of a god-view fixed in time.
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.
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?