Another Standing Rock poem, reposted

Dakota

How beautiful must the world be
to make me stop and notice
I am a narcissist?
I’m so far away from the plains,
the rolling weeds and sagebrush,
dirt-dry plateaus cracked like ancient faces.
I’m so far away from open fields
stretched equidistant to every inch
of the empty and aubergine horizon;
the sky seems endless as a child’s imagination,
white puffy clouds like floating castles
turning purple and gray along the dust bowl rim,
with rain shaft ropes tethering those
mountainous zeppelins to the Earth.

How beautiful must the world be
to make me care about the future
my children will live to see?
Some hold onto hope like eagle feathers
in their hands, have seen the stars
through a portal of smoke
cloaked in a buffalo’s hide.
They have stood for centuries
at the edge of a graveyard,
watching the white man dig more holes.

How beautiful must the world be
to make me want to live here
inside its nebular womb?
With every breath, the timeline of existence
shrinks backward one step.
In my heart, I could wear a headdress,
I could smell the burnt leaves
wafting like spirits around my skull,
like voices turned to ashes
swirling and sticking to my tongue.
I could sing songs around the fire
in a language I never learned.

How beautiful must the world be
that I shut off these engines of dinosaur teeth,
that I throw my hardhat to the ground
and climb down from my mechanical cage,
that I brush the crushed grit from my jeans
and embrace the joyful tears
streaming down my face
with so many arms around me,
welcoming me home like a long lost son,
turning to stand in line
against something as intangible as time?

How beautiful must the world be
that I admit I’ve always been wrong
about everything I’ve ever believed?
This world must be beautiful,
with its birds, its light-flickered murmurations,
its ponds with surfaces kissed
by hungry fish mouths catching flies.
It’s a beauty that never asks to be observed,
and that is just what makes it
so irreplaceable.

Thanks to New Verse News and James Penha for originally publishing this poem. You can find it here.

Joe Biden Memes as a Poem

Joe Biden, My Hero

I wish Joe Biden would kick Donald Trump’s ass.
You know he wants to.
One haymaker to the jaw and the Ole Orange Fraud
would fold himself like a slinky
made of elbows and knees and fish guts.

Violence isn’t the answer? No!
It’s a crowded stadium rising to its feet
as the referee counts to ten,
each finger a bell going off in your heart,
some primal release, catcalling
to the echoes of thumping bass strings
you once called arteries and veins.

Go ahead and replace “In God We Trust”
with “Joe is the Man” on our currency.
Knock Mt. Rushmore down
and build a castle from the rubble
to house his sacred remains,
the Joesoleum we’ll call it.
America needs a pyramid!

Here he comes, with his aviators on,
Trans-Am engine squealing
like a god of thunder
barely contained
under a waxed black hood,
spewing dust clouds a mile wide
into the sky to signal his arrival
at Standing Rock, where he asks the police
to pull his finger
and then gives them the bird
while screaming
“Happy Thanksgiving, Motherfuckers!”

Smiling like a lunatic,
he hands out bowls of Rocky Road
to the Natives and says,
“Let us eat ice cream and forgive our enemies.”

Joe Biden could do this.
He could tie eagles to his shoes
and fly overseas
to Aleppo, rebuild the city
with nothing but sweat and bare-knuckled braun,
he could talk the warheads into changing
their life’s work,
ask the machine gun to become a seed spreader
and the jihadi to accept peace
over a poker game.
He’d have the Middle East baking each other pies
in less than a week,
come back with a box of expensive cigars.

The homeless crisis? Solved.
He would simply let them live in his garage.
Global Warming? Not a problem.
Joe would lend the sun his shades,
cross his arms,
and wait for Barack
to pat him on the back.

 

 

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Remembering Leonard Cohen

Darker
~for Leonard Cohen

You want it darker, let the volcanoes erupt,
darkness is what happens when the stars turn up.
Darkness is what happens when your breath gives up.
America, I write your name
in the fog on the glass,
and watch it turn to tears.

Treaty with the Devil and your food tastes like smoke,
there’s Jesus snapping his fingers
waiting for the punchline in the joke,
but I never said I was funny,
and it’s dangerous to assume things
from people you don’t know.

On the level, I’m not lying when I say it’s bad.
On the level, someone stole what little dignity we had.
Before things get worse, they have to get bad.
Let’s not pretend we’re in control anymore.

Leaving the table with my food still warm,
my stomach has turned
itself into a cigarette burn,
a wound inside me
becoming an invisible scar,
for the rest of my life
I’ll eat nothing but paper.

If I didn’t have your love,
I’d be counting the days
between my mouth
and the barrel of a gun.
I’ve never given Death a kiss,
but soon I’ll suck him off.

Traveling light hits us from every side,
children still ask
for the door to be cracked,
and I’ll always concede
to my child’s palliative panic attacks.

It seemed the better way,
to turn each heart into a fire of protest,
to shoot bottle rockets
into each other’s eyes,
and still hope to catch
the falling sparks from the fuses.

Steer your way clear of the cliff
if you can,
but I’m afraid
half the world is gone
like the moth in your dream
you woke trying to catch.

String reprise / treaty while it’s good
and it’s there for you to sign,
soon enough all that’s left of this life
will be the ash
of the poetry we burned.

cohen