The War Resumes More Quietly

Year after year
The call came
Claiming with increasing dudgeon that
Our way of life is under attack
Although never saying whose it is
Making sure we all already knew

Shots fired…
Photo by Nick Collins on

This time
The thunder of the guns is muted
And the banners not unfurled so often
Propagandists not hawking the tawdry wares
They have been paid to sell

Is it that there are no buyers for them anymore
Those who would purchase already owning
“We’ve got it at home already; we don’t need another”
Those who would not being unconvinced
They will ever need to lift up arms in the war
Some have claimed has been on since
They got ideas about what they deserve?

Or is it the case
That the front has crossed me too far now
And I am so far back that
Struggle is but rumor?

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Hymn against the Stupid God 193

As croaks the one who gave the bullfrog’s name,
I propose words that call for rightful blame,
Though I to righteousness can make no claim.
Yet never does the pot err in the hue
I calls out for the kettle, though it, too,
Is of the color that it names, and who
Is absent fault? Yet failure must be known
If it will be avoided by those prone,
As many are, to it. ‘Tis thus I hone
The edge of tongue and point of quill to chide
The Stupid God, whom all ought to deride,
Yet in whose spreading shadow many hide
And fall into the hole where that God treads,
Emptying their hearts to match their heads.

Looks about right.
Photo by Alexey Demidov on

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Say What It Is?

Throbbing inside my head, it
Presses against all my perception
I can even smell it
Taste it
Acrid to nose and tongue though
Neither have touched it, and
There is no relief to be found

Look, it’s a photo by Nick Bee on

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Hymn against the Stupid God 192

I far too often heed the siren call
That rings from in the Stupid God’s large hall
And holds more people in its dulling thrall
Than might be thought. I, too, must take my ease
At times. I must seek out a sweet release
From too much thinking, lest I grow diseased–
I know that such awaits me if I don’t,
Foul thought of which I might write, but I won’t.
I wrestle with so doing, seek to hone
Myself instead of letting myself laze,
But still I find that, on too many days,
I heed the call, it fills my mind with haze,
And I plod dully to that dim delight
Of Stupid God’s, who laughs throughout the night.

Ah, to have it so benign!
Photo by lil artsy on

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The Girls Are Playing

In the next room
Strains of some pop star’s licensed product ringing through the house
As they sing along and
Try to follow the images on the screen with their bodies
And I am trying to be grateful that that is what they do together
When there are so many other things and worse that could be

Maybe in another season…
Photo by Juan Salamanca on

They do so well together
And I sit at my desk
Pecking away at some small thing
Marveling at a friendship that sprang up suddenly
So easily

It is a blessing for the one
That such things happen for her
Time and again
I have never known how

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One Day

I will have time to read again
Turning pages at my pleasure and for it instead of
Racing through reams to write tests I know
Strip the joy from where I have found it
For others
For me

Not that I’d wear shorts, mind…
Photo by Vlad Cheu021ban on

I will have time to write again
Pick up a pen and fill out pages
Such as I used to do
And not only short bursts of verse or reading reviews
But things I ought to have been writing long since
That others might want someday to read
Or crapped-out copy for a few coins
(Though I appreciate the pay)

I will be able to be a part of things
As I have not before been
Except on occasion
And those the better days of my life
Now past
But perhaps to be reclaimed again
Or claimed since
They have so seldom been

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Well, Well, Well

The bucket is falling again
Thin rope snapping as it speeds through hands that
Will not grasp it soon, fearing burns
The skin having been torn away before and
The flesh left raw and stinging because
Things must still be done even when
What should be protected is bared to the world

Things are looking up…
Photo by Filipe Delgado on

The peril lies in letting too much rope play out
The line following too closely and quickly
And passing swiftly thus past where it can be held
Falling into the water instead of helping to
Bring it back up and
Letting people drink

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…Woulda, Didn’t

Kept my mouth shut except to
Make the kind of small talk that is expected
And that greases so many things
Palms of hands that reach out to open doors
And usher those through who apply that oil
Focused on producing papers instead of grading them
Because the comments didn’t get much read
If what came in after is any sign
And it would seem to be
Stayed in school at the one school instead of going to another
Taken advantage of the opportunities I did not know were there
Because I did not pay attention to that kind of thing
Not knowing that I needed to do so
Because who would ever have told me that when
Study hard and get good grades
Was still the rule of the day
Stayed in school at the once school a little longer
As long as I had been expected to, really,
As long as most of the rest of them did
And maybe I would have won things for which
I was in the running
Before I tripped over my own feet
And one or two conveniently stuck out in my path
Amid snickering

I dunno. It’s artistic, or something.
Photo by Kulbir on

Been nicer to that one kid in Kindergarten
Not tried so hard to shove how smart I was down their throats afterward
Tried so hard to get out of being wrong
Read a book instead of looking at a screen
Practiced my horn instead of reading quite all of those books
Gone out and done instead of staying in all those nights
Been working instead of going out with friends
Made friends instead of making grades
Because it isn’t what you know
Because you can always learn something else
But some lessons only get offered once
And I skipped those classes in favor of attending others
More normal
More formal
And a lot of good it did me
If good is measured by creditors’ ledgers
And therapists’ bills

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Another Race

Heart pounding
Chest heaving
Feet pumping
Breath leaving

Not so nice as this…
Photo by Pixabay on

Still sitting
Still sitting
On no pallid bust of Pallas
That allegiance long forsworn
Chasing after Mammon
Though shoes and feet are worn
Clutching after castoffs
Grabbing them up though forlorn
Eating of them, greedy
Of all dignity long shorn
But stopping is the other choice
And stopping earns all scorn

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On the Slow Demolition of My High School Campus

The skin is peeled away
The sagging muscles and drooping sinews
The rotting bones showing to the world
And though I did not always enjoy being inside her–
More so when I entered through one door than through another
And found myself blowing something in my own mouth–
Seeing her abandoned so and
Carrion worked over by scuttling things
As I pass by again and again
My own heart is bared to the Hill Country sun
And the winds funneled between the limestone swellings
Covered by oak and cedar and mesquite
Moisture unforeseen squeezed out

One wonders if Guido made it out…
Image by Aaron Yates in the Hill Country Community Journal, used for commentary.

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