THE SACRED AND THE PROFANE

The inevitable balance of will and power,
force and fulcrum, dictates a live wire act
between ground and pole, fear of heights, fear
of falling—an ability to savor the danger
of living with flesh, dying with ease.

Blind we wander through the same room
shouting, “No Surprises!” Our first prayer:
no changes—we negate because there’s so much
to do—wouldn’t it be better if there was only
one chair, one table, four corners to navigate
and the circumference of a flat world mapped?
Life’s like that: a lot of questions and the only
answer anyone knows is, “I don’t know.”
We’ve forgotten the larger questions—
Is time a dimension, or a side effect of boredom?
When we close our eyes do the stars go out?

It’s the loss of the sense of adventure,
an event which occurred synchronously
with the invention of voiceovers. Everyone thinks
there is a little man in their heads telling them
what to do and when it is the American President
on TV they think, “Oh look, he’s just like the
little man in my head.” These people buy cars.
They drive them. They vote. It’s surprising
we don’t fall to our knees trembling in fear
`cause it used to work for the church but look
where they are. It’s like that everywhere.
Give generously.

Everyone loves a parade. Nobody likes
to be sick. Trite but true— that’s the nature
of truth. If it’s easy to understand it must be
true; if everyone would live according to the
truth, life would be a lot simpler. Things
like that can keep you up all night and ruin
your digestion—it’s better to forget them.
Whatever happened to heroes and heroics,
movies with a plot you could understand?
The plot surrounds us and everyone is missing
their lines; economics demand we keep the cameras
running; everyone secretly wonders, “did we load
the film this time?” A plane appears
on the horizon, its silver propellers
beat at the air, it flies past,
we cheer, everyone secretly wonders,
“Will it drop the big one (This Time)?”

A brilliant flash with dramatic blackdrop thunder head.
Scarlet spiralled flames silhouette priapic atom column
smoke fed screaming toothed goat’s head a thousand
stories tall spits lightning from nostrils of steel.
Everyone kneels. Everyone simultaneously believes:
“We oughtta worship this thing.” A manic taloned
finger claws at the sky until the roof caves in;
we close our eyes, the stars go out and we smirk
to ourselves secretly, “I told you so.”

WANTING AN EASTER BONNET I SLEPT WITH MY HEAD IN A PAIL

I plucked a flower from aluminum,
an electronic baffling bouquet
that I offered humbly in a
basement that knocked in time to
pipes banging “Tie a Yellow Ribbon”
I made flowers and offered
them, suspended through gratings
of paper and motionless shadows,
on a chain I made from paper clips
in my spare time. No one was hurt
they barely noticed. Perhaps
they thought it was the TV
another demonstration of something
they could eat, maybe the flower
wasn’t big enough, colourful enough
or maybe it just wasn’t right
i grew frustrated, claimed i was bored
started the bouquet dancing, jerking
an indignant fisherman swearing
at the baitless hook, the withering
sun marking his unattended line

I gave up on my quest before I knew my purpose

I am suspended above this paper in shadow

Looking through the bars of my prison I tell myself this is not a cage

Looking for no more than a token of kindness, sympathy, forgiveness

I am startled by the noise of aluminum flowers

banging outside my window

AT NIGHT, THE OCEAN

Roars at the evening, roars at the edge,
breeds beneath its surface, the endless waves
reflections of those who dwell beneath.

Stars wiggle in the meander of its ripples,
foam collects at its breach, its point of surrender,
but do not swim, do not dive

beneath its waves, comfortable swimmer still gripped
by daytime bravery. This ocean is alive, it is different;
you swam when it slept, when you were only a dream.

As you sleep, the ocean swims beneath your dreams,
do not mistake your easy snore for the siren
whisper of the ocean upon the shore.

You are flesh, naked and alone. Great creatures
from prehistoric times drift by unnoticed, their immensity
too much for your senses; predators wait to tear at you,

your shield, your confidence, does not matter. You are alone.
You will not win. You will be swept away, unknown, unnoticed,
for you leapt at night into the mouth of the sea.

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