This poem is a virus. The present times require us
to inoculate against the hate that divides us.
Its not too late to vaccinate
against the news that circulates online.
Some viewpoints can poison your mind through your iris.
I got tired of this so I designed this poem in a writer’s lab.
Soundborne, spread through speech
and word of mouth, it’s out of reach
due to its advanced poetic techniques.
The poem induces an immune response
from within the prefrontal cortex.
Imagine a species of Corvus selecting core texts
to construct nuance in your neurons
by infecting an open orifice.
You’ve maybe heard of this phenomenon:
Ear worms will make you hum like an automaton.
It may seem obscene
but good health
can be built from the dead cells
of hellish devils.
And so it is with this aural vaccine.
It’s a cruel world where curiosity
is corralled down rabbit holes by Silicon Valley
who profit off the radicalization of our families.
It’s up to you and I to steel our minds against the vagaries and mean-spirited replies in the comment sections of a subtly racist Facebook post.
Don’t feed the trolls because they only eat their own kind.
Let’s not form our entire identities online.
To stop potential mindrot, you can inject a piece of the pox
so your psychology can foresee a potential enemy.
It could be a false equivalency, rhetorical fallacy, or even plain jackassery.
The allure of a cure, the gift of a grift, the calm of the quiet before
a lovebomb blasts you back to where you started.
A fool and his money are soon parted.
Guard your heart, maintain your steeple,
and I hope one day, online or off,
you will find your people.
This poem was found at the bottom of a ditch, behind a weeping willow, crumpled and buried in a hole. I followed a black Rabbit here (code name Richards) in the dead of night to find it. I followed her because she praised soft men with a soft tongue and she had the bloodshot night-vision of a poet, peering deeply into the darkness, into the quietest corners of the soul.
She was the kind of woman who could look down upon my life reaching for meaning the way a gardener could glare down at a plant and remark, “Thirst is good for you right now.” Even though that stare would feel as hard and dry as the noonday sun, it would translate to: “I believe you will grow.”
Rabbit reminded me of Hilda Doolittle’s Sea Rose. This rose survives beside the harsh ocean by sucking salt out of sand and turning thirst into the fragile fragrance of wisdom. Like a sea rose, the hard women in my life have always drawn me towards their aroma because it smelled real and true unlike the cloying, sweet perfume of the spice-rose. For if anything is true, it must be made of this world and I know of no world that smells so sweet – shorn of its thorns.
Show me what it takes to survive in this world, hard women. Show me the bark of your skin and the bite of your fruit.
For I know it takes a certain kind of hardness to smile at yet another bad joker begging for your eyes to lock. Will his punch line be a Trojan Horse designed to open the purse of your person? Some men dip their tongues in silver simply so they can pick the locks.
It takes a certain kind of hardness to raise a waking life into a walking nightmare and to teach that child how to dream in your stead.
It takes a certain kind of hardness to soberly see the world with punch-drunk double-vision: as you see the world and as the world of men chooses to see you.
To the hard women, I see you see me too. My eyes trace the secret scars in your smile like lipstick. I smell the acrid scent of resentment for men obsessed with the good sense of their own flatulence.
Men, I know the content of your character by the nature of your desires. But only you will know what you have sold to stoke the coals of a lustful fire.
Men, I want you to know this world bears down on women the way an ocean tide collides upon the beach. After an eon, each grain of sand is sculpted into a hardened work of art. There lies fertile soil for the rare sea rose, growing roots in this shattered shoal despite the violent undertow.
And if you were guided by your nose, you would not retreat,
for a sea rose by any other name would smell as bittersweet.
It’s no big secret that I hide my pain from others.
It’s not really meant to be witnessed unless I have that person’s complete confidence.
But when I was a young lad, I wrote poetry as a way for me to show off some of my pain. To talk it down in public, so to speak. I wanted to be publicly vulnerable. Better yet, I wanted to be praised for being vulnerable. I was easy prey anyways so why not get an applause line along the way?
I never dreamed of a world where nagging voices did not nip and nibble at my nerves. Outside myself, far from who I was then, I see I was an outsider. He sees I am one now too. My childhood was not bright, it ambled along like an amputee who, at a tender age, learns to walk anew while others are running with carefree delight.
Miraculously, I learned that I was not the first person in this world to have suffered. My ‘come to Jesus’ moment, though it was more of a ‘come to buddha’ moment was when I realized I could console someone else who was in pain. Maybe, I told myself, if I could be understanding, then I too could be understood.
Of course, I had this notion first with my mother, who was Atlas holding the roof above our many screaming heads. But, she was eternally occupied. So, I turned my newfound spirituality outward. Which is when my song of innocence ended and I began to perceive such strange suffering sinking behind so many eyes glassy like an egg being swallowed by a snake.
Worse still, when I tried to heal, I discovered that the pain of others was always stitched together by a home-brewed prophylactic and the reasons for their remedies or the source of their symptoms would repeatedly get lost in translation no matter how earnest and loving our conversations.
When my song of wisdom began, I left my home town to study and to seek
the friends I knew I could one day have.
And I had them.
For a time.
But the old wounds lingered.
In me. In them.
Old roots wriggled and sprouted.
Children returned home to their parents, seeking refuge in this storm of a century.
But I could not. I could not have my hometown and I suspect it would not have me.
So instead, I weather the barren reaches of a random field alone drinking water from the air and vying for a melody or a tune that could land my pain home.
Perhaps, with one divine breath of air, I could sing a tune so lofty and sorrowful and sweet that it would sail upon the tides of some languid weather system drifting between my abode and my father’s home, and he, ever the lazy lion on the Savannah, he might pause a moment to take in the air and instead hear this pressing, poetic tune and finally wonder about the inner life of his strangest son enough for him to beg the universe a burning question.
And some notes are barely forming now like static electricity, I feel them first, on my fingertips, it’s a heat storm and so I reach out for the words and the melodies that are on the tip of my tongue and
To any and all,
The website is currently under construction. You are welcome to peruse the archives of poetry as I organise.