JB

he seems just a mere whisper in the night
a ghostly wraith
i could put my hand right through,
but no,
he’s really there, breathing,
standing unsteadily in the dark cool,
the light of the streetlamp
glinting off his head where hair used to be.

how long, how long will we have you?
days? hours? or perhaps just minutes.
you are barely there
i would put my arms around you
but for fear of breaking you.
you laugh and you smile
as if you are not in the act of disappearing
as if you are not in pain.

look at this long bold man
who forged his path
his own way
doggedly gripping this life even as he
ebbs into a world beyond —
what is it that we are? how is it that we stand
in this place of in-between together?
why must we suffer this collision?

even now,
look at you in the bright heat of the oven, 
hammering, crafting on the anvil
the only thing that means anything
at all.
and just look at this beautiful and cherished thing
you make in the midst of the
incomprehensible.

###

oceans

i feel the would-be tears
of sadness, or is that joy,
or, wait, could that be love?
i am an ocean of feelings until i see
beyond the puzzled grief to the
the mute, immovable anger

a massive piece of iron
settled in the floor of that ocean,
it takes up space
where life would be,
buried there to serve no purpose
a tether of leviathan detritus

time has done nothing
to this original sin 
forged unthinkingly by the hand of man
ugly, silent, seething
smugly altering the course
of the waters and life itself

but the oceans are so much bigger
than this,
couldn’t i just swim away into the blue
of the seas, the sky, on to endless spaces
where other worlds await? but, oh,
look! a wind breathes softly there.

###

thoughts on a national day of mourning

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Where there is grief, I have sympathy.

On this day, however, I cannot help but question the extravagant exaltation of an individual on the national stage for an act of mourning.

This was a man who lived a good, long life surrounded by his family and many friends, who enjoyed both great wealth and power. Did the man do some good things? No doubt.

Nevertheless, on his watch, many other men, most of them mere youth, were sent into war on another continent. Hundreds of our own died in that conflict. Tens of thousands were victims. This conflict delivered the Highway of Death, where retreating troops – people, that is – were slaughtered as they drove toward home. This conflict also helped to lay the groundwork for the endless war with which we live today and for whom so many suffer their terrible losses.

If there is to be a national day of mourning, let us consider those lives lost to wars and military actions at the hands of actors never touched by the violence or destruction they wreak.

If there is to be a national day of mourning, let us consider those lives lost and those suffering through the inequality fostered and nurtured at the hands of those actors never touched by the lack, indifference, or contempt they engender.

Let us dispense with the accolades.

If there is to be a national day of mourning, it should be a day when we look at war and violence, remember the many needless victims, over and over and over again, and simply say, “No.” No more.

Where there is grief, I have sympathy. I wish you peace.