These things can stop

These things can stop
the music for awhile—
The exalted and pathetic
became his favorite churchy style
There it was – a series of durations
within an indrawn gaze

Economic inequality and
popular frivolity –
mass distractions mask
their elite domination, their
fascistic, nihilistic glee
Turn it on guys, turn it on

Emily said “I relish the cold”
(as I shivered)
“Relax yourself into the wind
Breathe easy and it will blow
through you, it won’t chill you,
it won’t singe or sting”

“When you think right
your mistaken thoughts stop
even in your dreams”
Undaunted by rejection,
he comes back to play us
like some unworldly foreign gene

With his quick mind he couldn’t get
why his students didn’t understand
what they read or what he said
“Sometimes we think we know
something but we don’t—
what we know is nonsense”

Stephanie was lovely but she’d
sometimes place her right hand
in front of her mouth to talk,
to hide her crooked teeth
Even after she had them fixed
she’d do that out of habit

Their marriage failed—
those strict gender roles, those
hushed up infidelities, that
unsatisfactory dedication
to the accumulation of property,
offspring and prestige

I look in the mirror and see
Grandpa’s paunch—
They say he spoke with his fists when
young, that he was lean, tough and mean
I only knew the sweet, old, paunchy guy
who looked somewhat then like me

I make myself up as I go—they say
that philosopher’s ugliness vanished
in the vibrancy of his talk and some said
“If it wasn’t for his harsh ways think what
he might have done” and others said “Despite
his harsh ways, look at what he’s achieved”

“We call her the ‘mummy’ because her
face is like this”  (she stretches her
facial skin taut with her hands)
“Horrible, horrible, horrible” and she
laughs—then she gets all serious and says
“Not me, I plan to age gracefully”



-December 17, 2016-