“The Cogs of the Underworld”

Stony suns engraved in rocky darkness,

the cogs of the underworld turn:

He paper-cuts his thumb at work.

The tiny slash stings red,

a small nuisance.

 

The cogs turn faster:

though the cheesy pizza was good,

his chest gurgles and tightens with acid,

shortening his breathing,

his hand clutching his chest.

 

The cogs turn faster still:

he aims poorly off the snowy slope

and cracks the joint and bone.

The pain waves his flesh,

making him yell in agony.

He flails his hands around the V-shaped leg.

 

The cogs turn even faster;

he’s lost his ten year job,

minor mishap caused it, would you know?

and now mental pressure

squeezes his eyes towards the poor street.

He’s running out of money.

 

The cogs spin rapidly in the black:

his wife leaves him, taking the kids too.

And while he lies on the floor,

the demons of his past taunting him,

tears try to redeem his purpose.

But the angels tread far from him.

 

The cogs turn his life away,

their brutal turning he can’t endure.

Yet his spirit endured the body.

Now he sees the underworld clearly.

And shrieks. And screams. And howls,

His renewed flesh devoured by three-headed teeth.

 

For him, and the unfortunate others,

the cogs of the underworld turn and turn and turn,

a silver speed as fast as eternity.

 

 

 

 

 

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“King of the Woods”

I’m grounded.

Grounded in this foundation of a wood.

With my mouth speaking to nature,

and its blessed maker.

 

I’m grounded.

Grounded with my family of trees.

Though some of them are taller and older and wiser than I,

I have a strong crown of bark for all to see!

 

I’m grounded.

In this firm foundation.

I’m grounded.

And I cannot be moved.

Never.

Even when the wicked wind blows harshly on me,

my roots are still too deep.

For I cannot be moved.

Never.

I will never be moved.

 

“The Light of Life”

A living leaf, a dead leaf.

One withered by disease,

one with a radiant beauty.

One with a pitiable gloom,

one blessed by the sunlight.

 

There was a wonderful moment once,

in this world of different leaves with different colors,

that I was enlightened by the son.

But now I begin to decay

by an unknown sickness,

one enveloping me to the inner demise.

 

Oh blessed sonlight!

Return to me! Please!

May I live in your glorious rays once more

and never be troubled by this death anymore.

“Guillotine”

One by one I sever their heads,

one by one I answer their calls,

and one by one I stifle their cries

and end their lives.

 

The feminine crowd,

bathed in blood,

worships me,

The God of Revolution,

born in 1789,

The French Evolution.

 

Robespierre walks his hounds;

they howl in the street

seeking through all the smoke and noise

some fresh, traitorous meat.

 

My steel tongue,

glittering in the sun,

still strikes: French Fun!

But soon one will ride

whose Reign of Terror

will behead even me.

His name?

Napoleon.

“The Iron Seesaw”

The mountains attest that the world’s uneven;

no smooth plain of plenty everywhere,

no home of eternal, unconditional care.

A side of my face, whole and healthy,

the other, charred and worn,

while some laugh in the winter

and others weep in the spring.

 

This intolerable, heart-breaking canyon

splitting nation from nation,

fellow human from fellow human.

How daunting to the dreamer!

To the one longing for balance,

for Heaven to exist and never Hell.

 

A shifting monument stands in the world,

made of steel, coated with blood;

an iron seesaw,

fit for innocent kids who dream.

On each side and every pendulum wave

a childish chant: “I win! I win!”

 

So long, so long they play,

seizing their own moments of glory

when they touch the sky

and see all the world before them

laid out like a money-making blueprint.

The humbled somehow humble the proud

and the proud humble the humbled.

 

All you can see is the old, red metal

jaggedly pointing above dusty ground,

all you can hear is the screech of metal,

a life twisted into death.

 

 

“Love Alters Not”

Like lively, silver popcorn

the static television blares on

after showcasing animals,

casting a small Bart Simpson blanket

in sharp greyness, and under the cloth,

the little boy’s skin becomes plasma.

And while sitting on a neighboring chair,

wondering if he sleeps well,

she stares at him with loving eyes,

and offers her strong, open arms.

 

The sunrise glows gold and orange behind the hen house,

the black haired toddler plods his way

through an empty, dirt ridden garden,

asking the old lady what the chickens are doing.

While leading him to the crowing roosters,

she stares at him with loving eyes,

and offers her strong open arms.

 

At dinner time, while the boy waits for his mother,

he tries to figure out what he’ll eat:

chicken and dumplings,

macaroni and cheese,

mashed potatoes,

fried chicken,

or plump biscuits,

a bald old man with round glasses

lightly laughs and playfully pokes him, asking

“What you want?”

And setting a pot of gravy down next to them,

she stares at him with loving eyes,

and offers her strong open arms.

 

After the church service, after the dying down of hymns,

the boy, dressed handsomely, smelling of perfume and mint gum,

leaves the sanctuary and enters the car.

But the car is on a hilly road,

you have to hold the door hard,

and behind him, carrying a Bible in a leather bag,

she stares at him with loving eyes,

and offers her strong open arms.

 

While the boy, now a man,

lies sick in the hospital,

IV bags wired in his flesh,

oxygen slithering up his nose,

a banquet of food and tools in front of him,

kind of like a stubborn man

needing a woman’s soft wisdom,

the old lady sits next to him on a wheelchair.

She stares at him with loving eyes,

and offers her strong open arms.

 

And long after,

when I’ve recovered lying on death’s grey cloth,

I come to her house after hearing she hurt her back.

I’m amazed by her age and strength,

amazed, still, to see her fixing me another dinner

in spite of all the persistent pain.

“You don’t have too cook for me, Nanny!”

“Oh you know I don’t mind, sug!”

She stares at me with loving eyes,

and offers her strong open arms.