After the flood
that flushed her
like shit down the river,
she is cradling
her dead child in her arms.
She doesn’t see the crowd
milling around her,
speechless like the clouds.
O How she had
probably wanted to go mad!
But she doesn’t have
such privilege:
not even poets
can lay claim to that
easy escape.
She will fill her belly
with another child.

In Somalia,
they travel hundreds of miles
for the nearest refugee camp,
driven by wind & hunger.
Along the way
their children die like flies:
they dutifully face Mecca
as they say prayers
at their shallow graves.
O Why do they bring forth
in this hostile clime?

He’s waiting for the phone
to ring.
Sitting by the window
& looking out,
he sees nothing in the sky.
O He never learns
hope is for fools
who see refuge
in circular reason.
But when he heard
she had run off
with another guy,
didn’t he feel relieved?
That he can finally
push her out
of his mind?

The general is on the run,
reliving the terror
he visited upon his victims…
But his circle
vows to save him
from the crimson mob….
O the secret graves
are mouths
grimly opening in ivory-white skulls!

The criminals
thought it was a perfect crime;
there were no witnesses
but themselves
who carried out the evil act
But when the brothers
dared speak out
as if to clean
the shit from the pig sty,
we knew Sandino’s ants
crawled into our ears
to tell the murder most foul.

He watches the scene
like a cheap movie reel:
He has seen it before,
the conflagration of mud & water,
the shrieks
that drowned all…
But he’s old & can no longer cry.
When will there ever be
an end to this folly
of cheap, anonymous
around him in his time?
He drinks his hot black coffee,
but it tastes stale,
as old.

It is the same old tales
of despair:
how they clung on to trees,
stayed on rooftops,
floated on waves of mud…
O How his heart sunk
at the drowning animals
who never chopped
mountain trees down…
But tears are difficult
to come by
these days…
Is it okay to feel like a stone
to survive?

He is neither thrilled
by the firecracker merriment
around him,
nor the banter
of long-lost friends:
the blind are fumbling
in the dark
as if another Great Narrative has unfolded…
words are always
light like air
when the real strikes
the eyes…

They don’t say it officially,
They vow however secretly.
Some ways must change,
the rhythm of passion
to survive the death throes
of emotion…
How can you walk the
other way
in a wink,
shift direction
as if it were the true path
to Socratic happiness?
Decisions are made in the
spur of the moment,
truth unveils itself
by accident…
So he notes the imaginary list
saying the blind
are on equal
with him who grunts.
Everything is always uncertain;
why worry over
a future that is yet to exist?
Today is prey
to fortune’s whim…

The student
is taking an informal survey
for comic relief, of course:
Would you rather be
a brooding genius
or a happy idiot?
The score is confidential:
No one can decide?
So he walks out
of the house,
like an ordinary bum
who assumes
knowledge & joy
are a heavy load
split even on the scale,
like the crossroads, anyway.

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