The World At Large

DON’T TELL ME

Don’t Tell Me its those blacks
waving their “BLACK LIVES MATTER” signs
Or those Congolese stealing their
child soldiers, prostituting
young girls as “temporary wives”.

Don’t Tell Me its the homeless riffraff
and all they do is pimp their bodies,
sell their souls. How they should
be in the mental hospitals . . . where do
you think they came from? From
the hospitals, wars, drugs, society’s ills.

Don’t Tell Me its the Native Americans
fault. They could do better
but lack the initiative. Whites tore
their lives apart. Moving them,
killing buffalo giving them worthless land,
stripping them of their language,
culture, paths of life . . . dignity.
Giving them alcohol their body chemistry
was allergic to.

Don’t Tell Me the World’s ills
are shouldered by ISIS (L).
That Muslims carry a plague of moral
poison and devastation, can’t be trusted.
Who put them in power? Gave them guns?
Used them as pawns against a Syrian dictator?

Don’t Tell Me Whites are innocent.
who brought in slaves, where 1 in 6
crowded into ship holds, died
while the others, crammed in tight,
lay chained to the dead?
To a country where freedom
was an illusion and 97%
of all confederate soldiers
had no slaves but still fought
for a way of life they couldn’t live.

Where a Presidential Candidate,
who only married foreign women,
talks of building walls to keep out
the foreigners and the majority of people
applaud him for his audacity.
Where we farm out our more subversive
problems to War mercenaries
who can act in ways the government can’t.

My ears are weary of the lies, mistruths,
manipulations. For if we are
the “greatest country in the world”.
I pity this world. Don’t Tell Me
we are a pressured lot – it is we
who are enacting the byplays
and machinations of the world
or standing by spinelessly
and watch.

Disabilities and Health

MOVEMENT

Tick, tick one finger straining upwards
teaching as it goes – how to do what it does
to the other nine who have forgotten.

Teaching me how to raise my arms
by trying to flip ice chips in my mouth
and laughing myself silly
at the picture I must make.

Rehabilitation home number one –
glaring light room – another joins me
Left alone, scared, confused, hours by myself
Moved to another room, roommate a schizophrenic
demensia ridden person screaming all night
for three nights – I can’t get away, don’t know what to do
feel like I’m loosing my mind.

Until she gets really sick and, right next to me, dies.

Rehab dept. – Bars – stand up and walk
are they crazy? Can’t even stand, can’t move legs
on my own or not, whichever.

Okay – lay here and raise five pound weights
Are they really that nuts?  Have they read my file?
I can’t even lift my arms.
Exit Rehab One

Carried like a lump of coal
entering rehab center two
living in bed, succession of roommates,
put in the frequent fallers club
just could not stay put
put an orange bracelet to
signify my disgrace?

Month after month
an eternity of exercises, the Sopranos
(Roommate number 2, or 3?)
finally took a shower
MY GOD! THE HAIR ON MY LEGS IS 6″ long!)

My own walker. deluxe RED with basket, seat.
Walking. Feels so good to move on my own.
Proud.

Home again. Visiting nurse says
I’m depressed. Is he kidding?
Look at me! Where do I go from here?
Of course I’m depressed.
Medications, Inertia, Agony,
Continuing Pain,
Endless thoughts.

All in all, a grand time.
Something to tell the grandchildren.

Alta

Crone rocking the hours by,
worn wicker caressing
tissue paper thin skin.
Watching life’s passages
on the tiny porch of
the long closed general store
as dust stirs in whirlwinds
kicked up from pickups
tearing up dirt roads.

To some a forgotten relic
but I, all of five,
sat by her feet,
little legs dangling off the stoop,
hoping to absorb, perhaps by osmosis,
wisdom, stories, gentle words,
knowing she was safe –
too battle scarred by life’s trials
to inflict fear upon the innocent.

Children, grandchildren, great
grandchildren, great great grandchildren,
coming from her loins,
she populated most of the valley,
while many went on to lives
of their own choosing.
needing occasional reminders
she still remained.

Breasts gone, they thought
cancer would rob her womanhood,
but she defied their projections . . .
the old woman
with the name of a foregone era
still measured her life
by the rock of her wicker chair
and remembered far more
than most would forget . . .
and I sat in awe.

Only in Nightmares

They came
insinuating themselves
into my life,
shooting words of venom
into my mind . . .
raked my soul,
over flames of hot coals,
tortured my flesh,
with ill founded barbs,
stripped me of known attachments
to live in a world alien
to my understanding,
putting shackles on my spirit,
and now . . .
only now . . .
they are the nightmares
I dream but from which
I awaken.

A Child’s Perspective

Daddy rages, Mommy cries,
What about me?
the little child sighs.

No home for my own
yet I have two.
Never alone
but always lonely.
Mourning for one
while with the other.
Never enjoying
without feeling guilt.

I have my spaces.
My objects surround me,
yet I can’t remember
where my teddy bear is.
Is it here or there?

I want two kisses goodnight
from two people –
not the bemused, exhausted
brush of one’s lips
on my brow.

No one asked me
when the choice was made.
I got the leftovers.

Small wonder I am scared,
so angry I want nothing more
than to strike out
at the ones I love most.
Hear me . . .
when can I speak?

yet I can’t remember
where my teddy bear is.
Is it here or there?

Molestation

(There are so many children ruined by evil hands.
Their lives tainted, stolen from them. I have heard
so many stories, seen families decimated, by one person.
It is for them I write this)

He touched the children
and forever their lives were changed.
The guise of caring
deluded, seduced their trust,
their innocence
to hands seeking pleasures
subversive to their needs.

Rage isn’t enough
for one such as he.
Brutal accounting
can’t take back
the one thing most lost . . .
the fragile bloom of freshness
born in the eyes
of the young
to renew the lives
of all they meet.

He touched the children
and tainted their souls.
A caress of seeming guidance,
stole naivete’
from their basic inheritance,
the effects rippling away
to rest on all
who lived on the periphery
of their precious lives.

He touched the children,
and within them,
they were children
no longer.

Seeds

Within her lie the seeds of life
from the moment of first breathe
and earlier while still in the womb
all the babies she will ever carry
waiting until the time
when they will take their place
within the world.
Each wounding, each hurt, each trauma,
is inflicted not just on her
but on the next generation –
the legacy continuing
before they ever take
their first breath.

Within and beyond

Everything crowds in,
the noise, the clamor of people
moving through their lives,
touching but untouched,
feeling but not felt,
somnambulists in a dance
of private reckoning,
cascading into aloneness,
remote, isolated,
awash in the debri
of scattered necessities,
one thing rising upon
the ashes of another,
over and over again,
as we drift through
our separate realities
thinking, deceptively,
that we are connected.

The voices of others
chafe beneath my skin,
their needs, expectations,
burdens upon which I dwell
in meaningless observance.
Their voices drown my own,
grate, chafe.
Their voices drown my own,
grate, overwhelm,
and the voice within cries
for peace, solitude, relief,
from the unending stream of demands.
Yet still I wonder
if it is all those voices
which are burdening me so,
or just the echo within
of unsolvable problems,
which knaw at me,
day after blinding day,
in unending procession.
as

Shadow Play

Words are vultures
come to gnaw the last
bit of meat from bone.
They strip away
all reason,
the seductive embrace
of imaginings.
Words are a shadow play
where the figures cast
are illusions, and the
substance of reality
is overshadowed.

Words are binders
in the glue.
holding tight one object
to another, locked
in contracts non-negotiable.
Tread carefully
when words are spoken,
your soul is up for sale
and will be gone
if freely given to . . .
words.

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