Substitutes for a Nightmare

Arms deals and beheading,
Education attacked in Hungary.
Good in evil and evil in good,
Terror and subterfuge.
Ignorance can’t be reconciled.
The rich minority in the interests
Of the rich minority.
The wrong people in authority
Pollute population with corruption.
President carrying human head
Offers no apology.
Books begin burning again,
Ashes mock teachers and holy men.
Nuclear attacks on God
Fail to destroy God.
Time is dead forever.
The hatred continues.
The hatred conditions.
Mafias close one ear
And toast in Russian.
Brexit decides to text it,
America to sext it,
Oligarchs to own it,
Working class to suffer it,
Israel to shekel it,
Media to condemn it,
Turkey to meddle in it
And Asia to cook it.
No wonder earth is dying.
Mothers of mothers crying.
The best stop trying.
We can’t tell who’s lying.

Adult Children and the World

Does anyone else notice an inordinate number of adult children? Both men and women. Is it the natural progression of the video-game man child? Anyway, there seems to be more. You could generally count on older generations who experienced war and hardship not to be fools. That was their strength. Now there’s no one to say “you don’t know what being a fanatic means,” or “you have no idea what the cost of hatred is.” We have these people, but we call them refugees and confuse them with the oppression they are fleeing.

The trend toward authoritarianism becomes even more frightening when we see infant dictators applauding their own nuclear ambitions or discontented potentates dragging the world down for their own selfish gains.

Crow Feather Totem V

A white feather in the grass
Like a spirit return
Under star spider legs
Riding grass snake wind
In the region of the disembodied
Shadows flying over the field
For the longest moment
I had forgotten the road
A white feather
And the speed of light

School of Music

Not the doors we never open
But the invitation of a violin.

A student sings from La bohème.
Better than ovations, his passionate devotion.

In another room, two trumpets
Sound out the physics of justice.

A young woman with bass clarinet
Or strange fish caught in a drift net.

A bassoonist down the corridor,
All thumbs at the woodwind door.

Every work a work in progress,
Perfecting imperfection in chorus.

Not the doors we never open
But the invitation of a violin.

Swans in a Snowstorm

By the hundreds tundra swans descend
like parachutes deploying
in blizzard snow and wind.
They tumble through the air
then canopy their wings
and toggle best they can
in whiteout conditions.
Seeing them is like hallucinating,
except they come every year
to the same fields behind a police academy
in Aylmer, Ontario,
and sometimes in bitter springs
they come out of the northern sky
like a late blizzard,
like driving snow
and meet the earth running.

Clinical Condition

Masses of medical clinics are appearing.
We must be expecting the worst.
Human shadows saturate the market
Like stuffed sacks of sickness.

The office of doctor beehives into bulk.
Medical realtors create a crisis bubble.
The cost of wellness offsets occupancy.
Clinics flourish on curable defects.

Life is the casting of contiguous lots.
Now every property is distressed.
A density test is a good biomarker
To the health of illness and equity.


Fake or not— something is amiss
Fake or not— blood runs out the veins
The appendage of doubt withers on the branch
Fake or not— the tree died in Paradise
Fake or not— pockets are sacked
Innocence suffers the fakery
Nothing changes but the fakemen
Fake or not— God has no face
Fake or not— there are natural facts
Presidents sign with a fake pen
A despot murders his kin
Fake or not— the flames of the earth
Blaze through the crust to the sun
Fake or not— the indigent go without shoes
Fake or not— time lifts the mask
Natural resources betray the rot at the core
Fake or not— a dream of peace is real
Fake or not— love is its own illusion