Election Dayse

The goats go from the sun to shade
and those with collars nibble grass
while their kids, uncollared, pass
along the paths their elders made.

The voters vote in every town
while those who own the wealth of Spain
show an interest or feign one
in how the votes go down.

The almond and the medlar trees
shade the flock of goats and sheep
and frame the fields where shepherds sleep
off lunches of light wine and cheese

Miami eats the Everglades.
The hot swamp’s old talaria,
mosquitoes and malaria,
can’t match the workmen’s boots and spades.

A goat springs from a terrace wall.
A wasp eats an entire bee
except its eyes and one bent knee.
A sheep can’t cope and takes a fall.

The votes Dade County owners count
are those that help them win
the war on nature, do it in
and build a better bank account.

Dogs fight each other for a yard
that one of them is tied in
Bees build a hive in earth that’s hard
in the field where sheep get dyed in.

We fly down south and order goat.
We buy the best-priced dream.
We laugh that we don’t need a coat
and eat fresh figs with cream.

Society News

He chipped and putted down the pristine fairway.
She climbed the rock face scraping hands and knees.
His money grew more money while he showered.
Her research cured a terrible disease.
His caddy’s Caddy zoomed him to his Bentley.
She mountain biked to the college where she taught
methods for reducing children’s pain.
He bought politicians friendly to his whims.

Cicada Song

I hear old news: each new cicada’s song
repeats scraped notes with no change I can hear.
Fidelity a million years can’t wrong
rings through the muted trills that reach my ear.
When dinosaurs watched forest birds appear,
cicadas sang this song. These are the notes
that serenaded Celts who shaped these moats
in years when Rhône and Nîmes had Stone-Age names.
While I react to terror’s newest ‘votes’
cicadas string their chants on ancient frames.

I’ve read a plane’s been downed, all fliers dead;
each death a tragedy surviving news
that seeks and signals madness, till it’s read
and superseded. Widows take first views
of loneliness, and red-cold rage pursues
newly-childless parents as they wait,
unseeingly, at the arrival gate
for this, another flight that won’t arrive.
Cicada song and human news both grate
upon my ears, and ask why I’m alive.

I walk alone into the careless wood
and claim some shade, sit on a rough-stone wall
I share with ants and katydid. I should
find peace. It’s hot. Cicadas call
in rhythms in which angry bombers could
imagine calls to action; or a parent might
hear announcements cancelling that flight
her children should have missed. They’re dead.
Old news. Cicadas stop their song at night:
the silent time that we survivors dread.

FAV Reina Pool rendition of Alan Reynolds Cicada Song

Game of Words

I play with words the way rulers play with lives.
I elevate some of them, and I set others
against each other, slashing as if knives
were what they were. If I find a word that smothers
the others in my word menagerie
I snuff it out the way rulers do with lives.

Unlike with shamans, presidents, and tzars,
my powers do my subjects little harm.
When I am dead and done for, words will be
in dictionaries alphabetically,
and locked in novels, and free in open minds,
and floating between planets while they wait
for future speakers to provide them breath.

When shamans shame a person to go fight,
when presidents preside and send in troops,
and when tzars drive cars across their peasants’ heads
the people they run down stay grievously dead.

I can’t know if I am more moral than all world leaders,
but fortunately I am weaker, and I use words
as my objects for tormenting. Words can’t die.

The powerful trick or force the weak to work
on things that make the powerful more strong.
The strong earn billions (‘earn’ is here misused)
off the backs and dreams of people with less power.

I play a game with words, but those I exploit
remain as well off as do those I don’t.
To rulers causing torment, words are a quoit
they throw to ring in dissidents who won’t
kow-tow to them. Let them throw rings of iron
as often as they like till they expire,
these rulers, who like us must grievously die,
but our words and word games will survive their worst.

Muddled Class Set-up

We are conditioned to stay blinkered to the distress
of those we only let inside to mop.
We pretend that they are used to poverty
and so aren’t bothered how the cards are stacked
against their having the security
our lives rely on. We let systems slide
the door shut on the little people’s dreams
and tell ourselves things aren’t so bad at all.

We remain in blissful ignorance of the mess
we sink into, as long as we’re on top
of others who sink first, and we don’t see
that it’s us, the middle people, who are backed
up next against the wall. We think we’re free.
We have free speech, because, to those inside
the halls of power, giving free speech seems
a trifle while they set us up to fall.

Christian Robots Now Available

Alms-And-Zen are bringing out a line
of Christian robots good at herding crowds.
When you ask these robots, ‘What would Jesus do?’
they divine and answer what you want to hear
and supply out-of-context supporting bits of scripture
to use against any critics you still have.
They are seriously pious looking. They resemble
the obsequious nervously frowning you-know-who
that dances attendance on the Spurious Leader.
They’re not for sale but on a five-year lease
at 70K per month including updates.
Pro tip: get a pair for only 120K.