The beast, it takes its fill. Mother frowns and shakes her till. And... there the mites are a'mourning. Trembling few, ensconced in warning. The funny dread of complicit rage be the muted distress of every age. And we, you and me all the while bear benefit and burden with lacquered smile. As for those who fight we may wonder on their lives: if their struggle be a light? Or but a flippant lie?
The covenant of men: see as, say nothing. Then here we are, the fruitless multipliers of the irrational stasis. Wedded once and forever to each other and the notions of our weaker selves. Who called for prostration amongst these glorious beasts? Who but ourselves could form the will to surrender?
I wrote this poem after reading this excellent post. I’m often mortified by the casual disrespect that men engage in vis-a-vis women, and to my mind, every man is responsible for ending such actions. That anyone would be forced to “erect defenses” for merely living their lives is an absurd notion. Let’s relieve a little human suffering by engaging those of the opposite sex with the same respect we ask for ourselves. If we create a vibrant enough echo perhaps the madness will stop.
The petty and their predations can, therefore, they will. It's that subtle shift of power to force a nervous target still. What right have they that press to pronounce an ill intention? Drown them all in a vibrant echo, and through the flood erect defenses.
Living in the light of burdens astride the great heavy dull. Wherein masks diverged from faces plant themselves in history's embrace. And sing-song nature's revel in the deep and wide of the world; it spewing fodder for men of the fullest persuasion. Light me amid these dark moments that I might know fear and, in so doing, feel the pain of finitude that is every person's fate to feel.
Up from broken bearing does spring settled the wide-berth of deliberate mind. In swells, off course a song of sweat set sailing to this tiny track in time. So small are rivulets, the frayed ends frightened to resolve a salient form. Through life, a son erects a favored will representing all passion long since born.
Among the evolving there's a devolution. There is a siren wailing the savage song of loss. A wave of tension, that as it strikes the shore of progress, emits its high, holy death rattle. And oppositional forces, motivated but unaware that malignant aspirations reside in futility, suffer the universal tendency toward disorder as it stands firmly in opposition of their oppression. In these final stages, when the thrash and temper of humankind reveals itself in part so ugly, so cold. Then does the tightening grip of mortis set in begging for the decisive blow. The succor they seek, the fruit and fallout of their belligerent designs, can know no forever, no perpetual peace. And like all death throes before them, cling as they might, they will leave behind naught but the high, holy death rattle.
Holes, hard ones that tamp themselves. Ready, lying always in wait of the clumsy, soon-to-be sufferer. All the thick space between Earth, man, beast and branch. Decorative, unfashionable and boring holes. Wells of the living who happened by too close. Earmarks of eager destruction. These holes are hollow indeed. But boy, do they ever paint a scene.
The whole universe in this tight space. If not the whole, at least we ourselves. Complexity exposed and manipulated for benefit or benefitting needs. The need to express the whole of lives. The lives we lead in this tight space.
I like a tall confidence; a fit of force at nature's best. The emboldened gait of yesterday's fright, casting shadows as it glides. Own each step as you control the respective space. If pound of pavement be a precious rhythm, soon you'll see us close beside.
A flustered who behind every fizzle with a top popped-off for each submission. Submit? In fact you have. Long ago, with adornments pronouncing validity and verities unearned.
I suppose I should have added a note to this piece since it is ripe for misinterpretation. It is not, dear friends, a lamentation of the effects of life/society upon the religious. Rather, it is a lamentation of the effects of religion on all the rest. Here, “faith,” is a reference to those who continue to strive for the greater good, not because it is a decree from on high, but because it is the worthy aim of their lives. Religion has so permeated the highest levels of power in the United States and abroad that I would find it difficult to write a lament over its having lost anything (other than sight of its stated aim).
All that said, let me assure anyone reading this that people of all faiths, political persuasions and identities are welcome (encouraged actually) to read and discuss my writing. I look forward to spirited commentary everyday and would be hypocritical if I didn’t explore various viewpoints.
One sad and slow for the martyrs of the faith, us all. A retread of the trodden, where wisdom whistles its low longing. And the good are forced into order with a march maiming all their deeds. They step too. They step over. They step on. The martyrs of the faith are we.
Forget child? The human remains. In all those ways that feel disturbed and incongruous. In all those moments of triumph and resounding delight. The human remains and silences the murmurs of elevation living in the great sea of collective intensity.
Humanity; oh, macrocosm of the human. Say, please, that it is not so. Be not an association, but the hope of something finer.
What with the wind of the power universal at your back, Yet you whither and fragment! So gentle a breeze as against the streaming tide of omnipotence Yet you blanch and regret! How must the stream of ages sputter when corrupted, So will you screech and moan! Set for the seedlings the flexible arena, take them apart And falsehoods shall your voice intone.
Under the weight of the prolonged rests the peaceful disintegration of a name. What is your hope? It is feeling, oozing past reality to where experience suffers spasmodic fits. It is the long and sullen attaining critical mass. (The belief that) with a push from the other side, the anguish disperses and comes relief. Maybe this is where you find it. In the remembering. In the soothing. To mean, to suffer -- sister soldiers of internal discourse. To verily believe the unbelievable.
Phillis Wheatley holds the distinction of being the first published female African poet in the American colonies. Her story is a dizzying tale of enslavement, achievement and the unpredictable nature of life and talent.
It’s nearly impossible to do her justice in poetic form. While her life seems a lesson in the righteous power of the human spirit, her story is rife with irony, which makes it exceedingly difficult to honor.
Though born in West Africa, (either Senegal or Gambia) she was kidnapped, transported to the colonies and sold into slavery at 8 years old. By all accounts she was treated *kind* and given an education well beyond what most men and women (white or otherwise) received at the time. While developing her talents she embraced Christian dogma and the societal conditioning of colonial life, going so far as to decry the “pagan” nature of her homeland.
Her major work, Poems of Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773), was published prior to both the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the commencement of the Revolutionary War, putting her at the vanguard of a movement of independence that would offer no immediate relief to those in her position. She corresponded with George Washington at the start of the Revolution (he rather obnoxiously referred to himself as her ‘obedient humble servant’) and was remarked upon by Voltaire in European literary circles.
Wheatley eventually tasted freedom upon the death of her master after which she married a free black northerner. The couple had three children in all, two of which predeceased her, the third died only a few short hours after Wheatley herself, in 1784. Unfortunately, her husband had not the ability nor financial wherewithal to grieve her properly. At the time of her death at age 31, he was serving out a sentence in debtor’s prison.
I wrote the piece below in an effort to explore Wheatley’s life with its many tragedies and triumphs. I don’t pretend the piece is fully reflective of the woman — no one poem can ever do justice do someone whose life was so complex and so curious. I do hope, however, that the work serves as an homage to her many struggles and successes and brings to light some of the complexities of a woman history all too often neglects.
**Author’s apology — please excuse the .jpg formatting of the poem. Due to its length and style I found myself unable to post it directly in my blog. Hopefully the image form will not dissuade otherwise curious readers. I believe the read is worth it.
And so shall the settled remain affected. Caught unaware in the blister of the street. Summer time, winter time, that holly holy, slim lined fleet... Oh, the settled shall decompose amid the bones of those with nothing but the rancor.
Heartbeats and shadows patter, beating out the cadence of the ancient lover's cry. Tense is the refrain secret endearments claim, a melting of resolve does not such deceit absolve. Were all our failings so, better that we might perceive enchantments and phantoms. Oh! The tacit consent of sweet and innocent, erectors of sturdy lore set to avert the bore. And then when uncovered, pitiful in undulations, left to strip a quiet thrill. The last of those to feel may know of shadows real, such as is plain for lovers without name.
That I may remember the man and the moment
during sunny-side soon-eves, we stood thoughtful, wondering: are there waders in the offing? with blasted hollow tethers beneath us sounding depths. and rickety planks, the boundless energy fusing one in to the other, over and above a customary step. "I've a mind to dive!" and set self-sinking in the sludge to wrest from this paralytic a darkened grip fathoms below the surface plain. Cheapened talk then, hearty to me now, but arresting a bold effort. Here lies a preface to a promise: reclamation of that tether. Time was time did not matter; only the attempt, to attempt anything was a living proof. With dynamism, accoutrements, and slipping awkwardly beneath the still; all weight shifting, cask like, then pushing and probing a wasteland. Mine eyes were weak there. That trait so roundly prized owed nothing from the deep and so, received nothing just. Cutting through surface slop, wrapped in film, a grin resting familiarly with the ferocity of youthful error. Failure? But a moment. Success as well, and a bond formed fit and deep worked its way inside.
It's peculiar the way that carrying out can usher in: Burdens. I've seen a swell of burdens carried out the door. Burdens that fill bags-- literally fill bags-- beautiful bags that sat at cross purposes. I saw a beautiful being tote those beautiful bags, swelling with burdens, out my front door. Such a sight and such a sensation.