Savage Inequity

For AV.

Watch the faint haze of morning fog at daybreak
acquiesce to the self-same silence
of sewage dripping from the drain, such superfluous sound
as Mama Earth caterwauls from her grave
unheard. Let no curmudgeon juxtapose
a ripe red rose with the rosy cheeks
of a child in heat, or the metaphor of lovemaking
with fever. Let no mayor gentrify
the streets of East St. Louis, or D.C., or Raleigh
because history is no palindrome and the wealth they build tomorrow
will not serve the starving today. Let no man testify
how indubitably he must shut down the schools
to stop the drug sales in the schoolyard
or checking birth certificate at bathroom stalls
until he has breathed the perfume of perfunctory pollution
and placed leaded water upon his parched tongue
marches to the end of the bus line begging
while his pleas meet the only answer he has ever given
when the poor and the weak stumble at his knees.

Advertisements

Said the Rain

Said the rain outside my window
as it tumbled to the ground
won’t you lend me a hand
can’t you hold me up?
I’m falling like Niagara
past these cusps of clouds
sifting through the sky
like birds or butterflies
If you could take my hand
would you hold it?
where would you lead me?
or would you let go
let the damp spots dry
and lay in the sun
instead of playing
in the rain
like children

The Bookkeeper

See how the shelves are lined with books of every size and shape. They have no titles here, only names. Look, that shelf just to your right, on the lower shelf, it’s a small book. Red cover. Small words. Young Thomas Mann. Please, pick it up, take a look. No? It’s not to everybody’s taste. It was only written in a few days, not much thought went into it before the author finished.

Lets keep going, shall we?

You’ll notice some books are newer than others, some far thicker, some almost too thin to be a book at all. For a time we held a section entirely composed of leaflets, but we gave up the endeavor to catalogue our books by year, rather than length. Some things, you know, are just too predictable, and others are simply too constant. There will always be brief stories. And yet, they are sometimes the brightest, most sincere. However, as you may find as you look about, the lengths have been growing steadily longer for quite some time. The curator upstairs tend to think it’s a trend that’ll be reversing soon. We shall see.

In any case, what is your preference? Would you rather the vibrant ones, rich with detail and vivacious prose? They’re thrillers, in a way, strewn with velocity but sometimes lacking any genuine conflict. There are others, mind you, with a bit more wisdom, rather, a touch more timelessness: They may have softer covers, seem bound from a time before ours, the words dense with vicarious longing, drawn out and slow, a relaxed pace fit for nightly pleasures. Oh, look, just consider these two: Courtney Brown, a bright piece that’ll surely make you feel for her, and then Malcolm Jones, that might as well be a history if you make it through.

Still not piquing your fancy? Don’t worry, though, we’ll all end up on these shelves eventually–whether you want it or not, authorship is inevitable in the library of life.

The Suffocant

The first breath was my last: at the threshold I felt it seeping through the minuscule opening between jam and door as I reached for the bolt, tempering the cool air with its searing fingertips. The second breath, as the door opened, filled my lungs with a desert’s dryness, sinking to the pit of my stomach and making me want to retch. The third breath—I was at the precipice now, only steps from truly entering the world—came with raw heat striking my skin, slipping through the fibers of my clothes and tearing at my pores. The fourth, as I stepped into the sun, struck like a whip to my back, white paint onto black, a lion poised to attack. I staggered forward, my hands reaching, my eyes reduced to blurry forms of faded colors before me: is this all the world has to offer? Is this our destiny, drab and delusional? Saturated with life but devoid of the living?

The fifth breath took me to my knees, hands flailing over pavement, nails caught on stone slivers and lifted from the flesh, agonizing screams lost in a desiccated world.

Is this the emptiness borne of no inspiration? Is this my suffocation when I cannot write?