Startling Starlings

Feeling more relaxed this afternoon for some reason. Here’s a little poem inspired by a story on the BBC, “The man startling millions of starlings with lasers“.

Startling Starlings

I see they’re startling starlings now in Rome.
What’s next? Hawking hawks and renting wrens
in Trajan’s Market. I pity the swallows.

They’ll be robbing robins’ nests of their eggs
and ogling eagles as they pass on the street,
goosing the geese and making swans swoon.

I hope they’ll spare the sparrows.

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American Dream Deferred

American Dream Deferred

A deeply rooted dream
that one day this nation
will live out the true
meaning of its creed

A dream that little children
will one day live not judged
by the color of their skin
but the content of their character

I’d like to live in that America
too


Continuing the long tradition of White men stealing the labor of Black men, I took the title from Langston Hughes and all but the last two lines from Dr. King’s I Have A Dream speech in an erasure style but with the intention not of erasing but emphasizing.

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Pity the Dupes

Pity the Dupes

Lied to by their heroes
fed fake news by their media
encouraged by corporate shills
to destroy the democracy
they think they’re defending
with their flags and guns

They are the mislead minority
the easily manipulated
but this time instead of fading
back into a quiet fearful life
it looks like they’d rather flare out
and be forever remembered

As fools and losers for a cause
that couldn’t care less about them


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Boy in a Hospital

Boy in a Hospital

I woke up empty—
left eye swollen shut
where they pulled
out my memory

A lady sits at my bedside
holding my hand
her eyes melting
under harsh fluorescents

Who is she— who am I
no longer a son or brother
I am alone on an island
surrounded by strange waters

Memories are the essential tethers
to the ones we love and mine were cut


For this week’s Living Poetry Prompt; inspired by a story I once heard. Hope he’s okay.

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It doesn’t take a weatherman…

It doesn’t take a weatherman…

An inch of pure snow
first of the season
promised by local news
more interested in clicks
than accuracy

Early January snow forgives
covers a multitude of sins
leaving the world fresh
beautiful as a crystal
ready for new growth

But the anger of the mob
raised tempers and temperatures
snow turns to dark rain
earth to mud

I might forgive
I will not forget


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Four Images

Four Images

Waking up seasick
in my land-locked bed

I can still smell my wine
yet it lacks flavor

Sitting still feels
like giving up

The vaccine comes too late
for far too many

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untitled poem for the new year

Just another middle of the night
in the middle of the dark
but we all count this twelve o’clock
as somehow special

So let’s work for something better
let’s resolve to change
more than just the number
of the year


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Prescription

Prescription

Let’s rip the foil off this new year
like an unopened bottle of pills—
stumbling for the too small tab
along the sticky edges
until I just jam my fat thumb
through it in frustration.

Pluck the cotton— bright as the full moon
and throw it in the overflowing trash.
What use is cotton now that Christmas
has passed and Saturn is on the far side
of the sun? Dawn comes earlier every day
but the cold is getting settled in the earth.

I double-check the warning label—
alcohol is contraindicated for hope.

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The Scent of Snow

The Scent of Snow

Peppermint tingles my morning
the Christmas tree fills
the air of the living room
with a forest of needles
the kitchen is cinnamon warm
and gingerbread peopled

But what did the myrrh smell like?

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Winter Solstice Sonnet

Winter Solstice Sonnet

I’ve lived where the solstice air
freezes onto my mustache.
Where daylight is a vague glow
behind clouds of dirty slush.

I’ve felt that deep ancestral fear
that the sun has given up
and we’ll all shiver solid,
defeated by the menacing dark.

Light a candle with me tonight.
Share this bottle of wine.
Trust that our planet hasn’t spun
off into the eternal void

and tomorrow we’ll tilt toward summer
once again.

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