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He feeds

He feeds the demands of ego, strife and
appetite, the regimes of brutes, bullies,
bigots and philistines, like the fragile, thin
border between idealism and totalitarianism,
surrounded by others but knowing no one
Alone yet never alone, as old orange
rust in the fossil record shows

The cunning congenial artist portrayed
himself as a jolly fat, happy guy
elaborately dressed in rustic archaic
clothes, as his red dabbed cheeks smile,
as he happily plays the lute and so we spoke  
with him but heartlessly didn’t recognize
him until after he surreptitiously left us

It ain’t ever easy to figure a way
to extricate ourselves like some weathered
particles who, separated in time will know
each other’s acts and thoughts, like a divided
country, its scalded institutions, its
antagonistic, diverse relations played
out in a chess-like deceit of cleverness

Watch carefully how they act
Care little for what they say
Blocked by this you say? Nonsense
Nothing can block you so get
back to work, you shirkers, quitters,  
dullards—We’re carbon based
sun lovers but not all of life is

Life may not even have
started that way
No clocks, no windows, no time
Precision of prospective and light
Quietude, timelessness, placelessness
Why did all those brave grunts die, so
the rich might be slaveholders forever?

Small-feathered birds may stay
may hold their places for
a considerable amount of time
We discarded our landmarks,
our structural abstractions
We don’t know who the model
was or whether she was a part

of his life—We’ll honor her silence
The pearl she wears is painted
in contrasted light—he couldn’t,
or wouldn’t encircle it, give it an
outline, defined like the delicacy
between cooperation and conflict,
because their love wasn’t just sexual

The space he painted expels us
We may look but we’ll never enter
It’s the verve of his optical sense
and that meant we didn’t know
what he’d shown us, not viscerally
at least for the two centuries
following his death at age 43

Old rust in the fossil record shows
there was plenty of stuff for us
to breathe so many millennia ago
Power’s no balm for the deranged
“I’m a landlord chief so very strong
Here’s what I think  
and I’m always wrong”

-April 20, 2019-