The Ballad of John Ramm
Munching twigs, scenting
the air, hidden in a thicket
of leaves, brambles, thorns,
agile feet take him to flight
but not soon enough
Hailing a cab, trying to make
his way to work, he remembers
distantly what it was like to be
in the wild, but that was so long
ago, it seems like a different
animal lived then
While others preen, he pummels
While others rant, he rams.
First They, Then They
A desk, the room,
a board with a scrawl
Question thrown out, volleyed,
batted, buried in giggles
It rises, ruffles, flushes,
tries again, the question, little
do they know
will always try again,
will always rise back up, rephrase,
an example added to an example
added to a puzzle
a process of building, pasting,
putting back together, to shred
I dream of a city
that has layers
where birds fly
in beautiful heights
And the lower levels
support what's going
Where one can rise
from those outer reaches
and subterranean parts
Ascend to live, become,
and know the truth
of self, finding peace
Even in the process.
There is a Bear on the Front Porch
Of course, I check and see
him standing there, dressed as a bear.
Should not have left the trash out
this time, I suppose.
Should have cleaned up the yard
maybe a little better.
I flick the porch light on and he is gone,
replaced by a stack of boxes I place
there earlier, a creature disappearing
into lamination, conjured then into
a household set of objects, a common
jumble of cardboard and trepidation.
Let me not wear
the brass mask of oppression
or raise the rod of correction
to the weak and sincere.
Let me not dress
in cotton to cover a
course inner fabric.
Let me use words as
a freedom and not as
an expression of distance,
out of sentences and chaos
out of semantics.
Tragedy in the Loin Cloth
It’s hard to take the picture
Seriously, which feels bad.
But I consider the plush purple
loin cloth that decorates
a ridiculously heroic form.
Tragedy, comedy, unintentionally
mingle in a garish mural.
A customary pathos interlaid
with feelings of mirth and smirk.
Shadow of Myself
There is a shadow of myself
where I used to be. An outline,
really, and that is all. My finger
traces the experience but cannot
contain it in my palm. I create
my own expectations then find
them jarringly unmet. No situation
turns out exactly the way I expect,
no space feels and smells the way
I wish it to. I am obscured by my own
expectations and several sets of eyes
evaluate me, or simply think about
dinner or politics, or do not see me
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