Poems to stop the evil

Poems to stop the evil

Your own wound; your secret wound.
Their own wounds, announced and not.
Our own wounds, exaggerated and underknown.
Commingling here, somehow together.

It was a terrible thing, what the British did,
allying with the Tutsi against the Hutu,
creating a minority power to ensure loyalty through the bullying.
It was a terrible thing, what the Hutu did,
slaughtering the Tutsi out of rage and spite–
so many years after, fueled by tales old and new.

How bad the bad when the French lords,
in pomp and splendor,
bled the people in their squalor.
But then the Revolution: how mean the blades,
how mad the logic, how Godless the certainty.

Peace and love for all,
the freedom of privacy,
of coming and going–
of course, of course.

North Korea, from across the most sparkling sea,
with a missile can now strike us in our bright
and comfy towns.
So what now?

The globe, so diverse in chitchat, in opinion,
home to me in this happy little respite
from history,
snuck out here with my living room,
fresh organic produce,
Netflix subscription,
French, Spanish, and poetry Meetups.
But everyone now knows about terrorism,
about loose nuclear materialism,
about the notion that infinite wrongs
could be righted by my death,
your death, our dying out,
the collapse of our grand systems
of law, commerce, fun and study.
So what now?

We children,
some more privileged than others,
of a big, fat inland empire.
Some more honest than others.
some kinder than others.
some wiser than others.
Children of Democracy writ large and strong.

The mystic poet seer genius types
say all is well, all is one,
all flows from and to the same
sweet giggling innocence,
that the Light keeps getting brighter
until we all realize that there’s nothing else–
never was.
OK, sure,

Trump lies and people say that’s just politics.
It isn’t. It’s the cynicism of a people who’ve given up
on Democracy, but figure it turns out it wasn’t such a big deal after all–
seeing as they still have gasoline in the eager tanks and sunlight in their pretty eyes.

We’ll rally together for good government,
for openness and fairness in government,
for rule of law and the dignity of the process,
for the ends don’t justify the means,
or we’ll swell up and bloat and pop in chaos.

Or maybe we get lucky, or unlucky–
it’s always a bunch of things all swirling together,
and only cranks and other radicals pretend it’s the one gold tooth
that can be held up to glint in the relentless justice of their unforgiving sun.

the evil,
the mistake,
the cruelty,
the greed,
the pursuit of a world where deceit and heartlessness is rewarded,
where honesty and kindness really are just for suckers
and the handful of saints who somehow really do know for sure and shining through it all without question that Love is the final, the irrevocable vote.
But, no matter the speeches at funerals, most of us are not saints.
We are in-betweeners, and in a system where decency is reasonably compatible with pleasant-living, we have nice lives and slide into heaven, but otherwise we are mean and brutal and confused and slip down to hell.

What is the balance between individual freedom, rights, responsibility;
And the system within which we’re enmeshed?
How to push oneself, and the chords of society, culture, friendship–
the ties of other that wind round and through us–
how to push out from within, to push it all towards the better,
towards enough protection from grinding teeth, dancing knives, whirring lies
to breathe in joy, create and share,
explore and grow
by the dusty rocks
laced by thumby scrag-brush more brown than green,
in the brightest morning sunlight
tucked in on all sides with cool desert morning air,
free to roam and enjoy without stealing another’s way,
without breaking our everyman vow
to be ourselves in aware kindness.

How to proceed?,
we ask ourselves.


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