Category Archives: poetry

Night Terrors

 

 

 

Head held to my pillow

Comforter cover a mummy’s sheath

Sweat soaked sheets

He’s howling

My baby

 

Dream let me go!

I need to get up

get him but

I run in place against

 a hidden force of mechanical phenomenon

Thrashing about,  delirious

in the muck that

willfully conceals my way.

 

God!

Help me reach

His screams

Not for you

But ME

his long departed

deceased lifeline.

 

Impossible to save him

His neck pressed to the pavement

Life slowly suffocating

Squeezing his heart

His lungs

His voice

Calling calling for me

HIS MOTHER

to save him.

 

I can’t baby!

I can’t get to you

I’m letting you down

Letting you die

As I die again

Here in the next world

I die again.

.

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I Can’t Breathe

Exploding canisters

We are all suffocating

Tears pouring

As autocracy creeps

ky-lousiville-0529-4-1440 george loyd protest

Need a minute to get my breath

Some space

Some breathing room

 

Peaceful protesters flushed like roaches

Trump declares he needs no Governor’s blessing to bring them to their knees

On their knees they will have to look up

To him

He sets his flag for fascism

 

Breathtaking

Breathless

Relentless

Get off my neck!

Heavy metal death roar

This weight on my chest

 

Respirator, intubate, oxygen tank, hospital bed, mask

I can’t breathe

Wearing this mask

Anxious

Virus Violent

 

Permit to carry anywhere anytime

Weapons unmasked

Endangered cops and itchy triggers

Psychopath cops excuse to murder

Insanity

War

Smoke

Tear gas

 

In Nashville, my corner

Funnel cloud first

Dust storm next

Smashed sheet rock and ink dyed paper sheets

Scarred the air

Shelter in place, the virus is hunting you

Then the storm

Power out

For days

Hoarded frozen food to stay in for days now useless

What good was preparing for dearth?

 

You don’t know what’s coming

 

Black and White make black and white

Not gray today

Let Black have its day

 

The under loved rightly rage while

Savage Supremacists

stain

Intercept, interfere, interface

Time Square cleared for months by THE VIRUS

Teems with righteous indignation

 

Across the country

Tainted by anarchy placed and paid

Looters

Ruiners

Devastate the innocent and already broken

Misplaced misery

Monsters for hire

 

Being Black means no space

To mourn together

Protest together

Rise together

Yoga, ”The practice of the last breath

Is not enough.

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Ants.

A river of ants flow from the foundation of my home. They stream down the terrace on a single minded mission to multiply beneath a glorious seven foot rose bush.

These otherwise harmless creatures can wreak havoc. Their industry sucks the moisture from roots and mortar leaving dust in the wake.

Pour water down their exit hole to divert them and they disappear for awhile. You think they went somewhere else but suddenly they’re back at the same mission, the same route, to the same place. Maybe they were just “sheltering in place”.

Like us.

Nature’s balance pushed to new limits, the creature Covid 19 found a ripe opportunity to devour the toxic, polluted, immune repressed, stressed human race.

It forced us back to our holes with a Tsunami rage. Without the insidious ravage of humans, the earth had taken a breath. We might have seen how quickly it seeks to repair. Dialed in to needs personal and present we haven’t had time to expand the view beyond that.

The threat of number 19 is now greater than when we feared a water boarding suffocation by leaving our confines. But the autocracy says, it’s time to get back out there. So we take the same path do the same thing in the same way as before. We call it normal. We call it freedom to get back to the routine, to the route. Cloaked in masks, slathered with Purell we’ll clog the highways, swarm the stores, erode the foundation, compromise the roots.

A different path to fulfill one’s destiny is right there.

But like the ants, we just do what we did before.

Don’t know why, guess you can ask the ants.

 

 

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Flower or Weed, Biden or Bernie? Trump? It Depends on the Time and Place. Election 2020

Vote for love, vote for gentle.

WE can’t take another angry man shouting in our faces.

So polarized, so hateful, so tired are we from squad Trump.

CRACKED.

I thought, don’t push it. The PUSH BACK might elect the Dictator again. We can’t stand that.

Tread lightly, make no waves.

Biden is a safe bet. Bernie always seems angry though rightly so.

And then the Virus finished us off. Blew off the doors, exposed the flaws.

Revealed corruption, pollution, inequity, racism in ways some might have ignored before.

The Dictator’s commands from the pulpit are a paucity of mercy that cannot be denied.

The Federal government is “not a shipping service”. It’s every man and state for himself says he. Bidding wars and price gauging while people die alone.

Not my problem. People are free to do what they want.

Work is money. Money is power. Resume your positions.

My show must go on.

Low gas prices, a welcome relief for you,is a crisis says he and you’ll believe it

because Dictator will explain it with a benign malignancy as he does all alternative facts.

And will repeat it every day just so you know he is unashamed and his words become gospel to the flock seeking salvation.

Tells you to your face he will fuck you in favor of his Saudi and Russian oil friends, for an oil industry that should have been phased out years ago

Look at his confidence!

Like, yes we put Jews in ovens but it was good for the economy

and say it every day until we are numb and inert or believe him.

Only a sociopath could pull off such a subterfuge. He’s such a charming fella.

You might forget right and wrong. Some have.

Bernie displays the pitfalls of the 1% disparity. Demands health care and fair wages as a right. Shows that in crisis there is not net for the most vulnerable.

For most of us.

And here we are.

Bernie did not radicalize us.

An invisible bug and ill prepared leadership beat him to it.

Rob Lindsay Pictures

If Bernie was a thorn in the Democratic party he is now a flower in its last phase shedding seeds for rebirth.

If Biden was a cultivated flower he is now a wild one. Will he genetically modify his platform to fit Bernie’s’ as Bernie holds some cards?

If reality star Trump was a flower on a clown’s lapel,

Dictator Trump is a poisonous vine.

Time to clear the White House battleground.

 Spray no weed killing poison but till the fields instead.

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Let My People Go

Dictator runs the narrative, threatens, fires, lies and fury.

Controls the coffers, flogs his servants, incites the faithful, degrades the women, emasculates the men.

He is the sum of himself and his minions. Minions enable the one.

Without that symbiosis the dictator would perish. That parasite needs a host.

Like the VIRUS.

He is he and the sum of his parasites. The host is a shell once called a party.

Republican.

Greed, lust, disregard for the under gloried.

He is Pharaoh.

They are Pharaoh.

Hoards stockpiles of life saving devices in the temple

Those are for the privileged.

The under worthy can silently suffocate alone.

 

Who cares, thinks Pharaoh?

If they care now he banks on them forgetting when he puts a few dollars in their pockets and promises the moon.

 

He is/ they are corrupted Israelites on the radar of one Jesus.

The wealth worshipers.

Wealth is power.

Extra is power.

Time to remember.

At dinner.

At church.

Hunting eggs.

Or matzoh.

 

God threatened to kill the children.

Of the flock that wrongly enslaved and imprisoned.

Release them from bondage or the first born is killed.

And God killed his first and only.

Made him a martyr.

Guilt.

 

He died for you. Now it’s pay back time cause you didn’t get the message.

You weren’t humble.

You worshiped money.

Hoarded.

Abandoned values.

Didn’t notice, didn’t care.

 

Years slide by.

 

Injuries add up.

Poison the earth for a buck.

Flog ourselves to everlasting labor.

Enslaved to the dollar,

Owned by the man, the landlord, the lender,

Over step and step over.

Money will make us immune.

 

Well I’ll grant you it can help

like that fat lipid surrounding the Covid 19 virus.

Their are some shields;

 

Better healthcare, education,

the privilege of space to surround one’s fortress.

But no!

No one is exempt.

The innocent and the guilty will go when

their time is up.

Time.

What will we do when it is ours again?

Will we re step into the ashen streams

Slumber under brown smog skies?

 

 

 

 

 

Dump stockpiles of pesticides back on our food?

Ignore the poor?

Disable the ignorant?

What will we do with our time?

How can we people go

without a path to freedom.

Don’t tell me it’s the next life,

the afterlife.

Tell me something real.

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The Earth Breathes and Nature Runs Free on a Pandemic Morning.

Do we need to lose our breath for the Earth to get hers?

Will the sky appear in China without industry?

What is India without a car’s exhaust?

Will the animals come back if the hunters stand down?

Will the plants reappear if the clear-cutters are laid up?

I drive down the road and remember the Nashville I love.

Traded Los Angeles for a place more small town than city almost thirty years ago. Because of us it became a city. Ironic.

Now small town charm hangs in the air like a friendly ghost.

Space and intimacy are  precious.

One fights to sustain.

We live in tiny tribes separated by things unfamiliar but not unpleasant.

We can buy anything, eat anything.

We can go to music venues morning to night.

Existence means some things are exchanged for others.

And we still find one another.

It just takes more effort.

Effort is good when it’s done with optimism. It’s not bad.

But I notice in this empty space that my optimism was a dwindling resource.

You know what I mean.

Last year I read a study out of England that declared loneliness to be the worst disease of our time.

It kills people.

You see? Social distancing is not new.

Are we at one end of a pendulum’s swing?

Is this Covid monstrosity the full tilt?

Will anything change as we emerge gray haired and naked before each other some time from now?

Still breathing for now.

Listening to the quiet.

Few cars drive down this street these days.

Every day is the third day of vacation.

It’s the fourth day when one succumbs to the reality that this life is not that life.

My time is my own.

What will I do to enjoy it?

.

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Hazmat Suit Sleep

It’s the end of the life that we knew.

We’ll have to make a new one.

Nature is shaking us from our torpor.

Shaking harder I should say. Many of us have felt her urgent hand before.

Some of us will not wake up.

In the kosha layers of Ayurveda the human body is the last thing to feel disease. It comes from disturbance in the field of planetary agitation, emotion, mind and yes, breath.

Earth, you’ve got my attention. I will attend.

Like anyone, you want to be heard.

I hear you.

I see you Corona Virus. Respect for your massive power.

Now please leave us alone.

 

My eyes close at 9:00 P.M.

Sitting in front of the television.

I have no purpose. No schedule. Like some of you. I take myself to bed to rise at midnight despite the struggle to stay unconscious. I imagine prisoners of war. John McCain shows up. He’s young and brave and handsome looking up through a bamboo cage stuck in a hole in the ground.

He’s showing me that sanity now is a choice.

Why him? He’s not the first guy in my playlist of favorites but you don’t choose who visits from beyond.

Merlin, our new puppy will wake me at dawn, my favorite time of day.

Until now.

Willed to the mattress till the first bird sings had been my way. A lack of sleep made no difference. Joyous to fling myself smiling from the bed as my husband soundly slept. Grateful for another day, the sweet foam on my coffee. The peace of being the lone one at my kitchen island taking in the morning news.

Merlin’s sharp teeth and happy paws disrupt my Hazmat suit dreams today. I think I got back to this bed just hours ago. He and Layla, my sweet hound, beat the walls with anticipant tails that herald a delightful day.

Always new. Always hopeful.

I am exhausted.

I think, I’ve got time to make steel cut oats. It takes a half hour. Ha Ha. Why is that still surprising? Coat the pot with Ghee, boil the water with sea salt, add chopped dates with the oats. Sprinkle toasted pecans and dark maple syrup. Feed my husband and son something healthy, something happy, something lucky to have in the ever present rainy gray gloom.

I do a headstand in the living room. Wait for the upside down to get real. Land with clarity. In the upside down life is interesting. And it goes on.

Write this post. Figure out Venmo and Zoom meetings and send resumes for the future. Clean the closets already cleaned before. Clean out this old filing cabinet.

Call friends in California today. Seems a bit of an underachievement.

Call the bank and change my auto pays. Think about how to get unemployment for my part time but constant work of over a dozen years at Vanderbilt. Corporate America turned its backs on those of us paid the least at the esteemed University. What bullshit.

Note to self. Care less.

Some of my clients will buy a Facebook Portal. We will do virtual classes. Three books unfinished beckon.

I’ve planted hyacinth to bloom next year, weeded beds, fertilized and mulched with my youngest son.

The Crabapples are a canopy of white petals. Daffodils are still smiling under blooming Redbuds as the tulips prepare to burst. The wisteria I’ve sculpted on the front lawn is ready to break out. Our bluebirds are building a new nest. The woodpeckers on the feeder don’t know it’s a new world.

It is for us to nurture, to love, to protect and honor all of us.

To seek truth in the smokescreen,

To make sense of truth.

To act in truth for a better life.

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The Animals are Watching

I woke at dawn as I usually do. And forced myself back to sleep. It’s Sunday and I’m working on relaxing. Respite in bed is not a reprieve for me but today it came easily.

My dog, used to my habits, came at our usual time. She climbed onto the bed where she’d been allowed once when a vertigo event triggered anxiety that only my warm puppy could abate.

Now she drank thirstily from the cool stream that was strangely swiftly flowing through a crevice behind my neck.

Alarmed, I rolled away from the warm comfort of my sleeping husband and rushed out of bed to the kitchen as usual to turn on the kettle and looked out the window.

Hilary Lindsay

The gentle slope from the terrace up the hill was a flooded field. The bird feeders hovered over submerged poles. And the field was patterned in stripes of black and white softened with brown that revealed a congregation of wild creatures sitting terrifyingly still with their heads just above the rising water facing me, my house, a silent call.

We are in trouble. We are waiting for help.

Herons, cranes, deer, even a monkey came into focus as I stood frozen.  The monkey rose from the water, writhed and slashed and struggled to move and I thought monkeys might not know how to swim.  They will die. They are dying. There are so many. They are wild and alien and yet they’ve come to us like they are domestic, part of this house.

I ran to the bedroom calling my husband. You need to come. It doesn’t matter if you are tired. Get up you need to see this.

It had just begun to rain. Again.

And I woke up.

Yesterday Elizabeth Warren announced and all I could hear was the word “fight”. Big money, unfairness in cash, race, …. Shift I screamed to her. Don’t talk about health care talk about the planet, the food, the water, the raped land. Talk about the poison we are ingesting. Tell us we are an extension of all and they us and if we are to survive we have to eliminate our toxic overlords. The toxin is greed. They give us charity to save us from cancer while they make us cancerous. They give us medicine for all the disease they cause us so all we do is worry and band aid our shaking, limping mutated bodies and stay alive though it’s a half life. Talk about rebuilding community, eliminating loneliness, feeding and educating everyone.

Get these damn guns out of here. In this town children are snatching them from open cars. Where are the parents? Are they made useless by despair? Have they given up, the invisible till their spawn end up on the evening news?

Another press cycle begins as the crippled make the tedious trudge to the next presidential election. Will we notice the deflation, the anemia, dementia of ourselves as we make the choices that guide us forward? We are distracted by the affairs of weak men.  We are guided to look away from the big picture to little pictures about little people and their pathetic or natural proclivities that are perhaps the worst of us.

Still, we go forward in small ways, in anonymity. This is as it should be and always was. We don’t need a megaphone and a platform to show us that.

But as the most powerful nation on earth influences the other superpowers that govern these small lives in our separate, intimate communal, we are bowled over, drowning in the sound and vibration of the doom broadcast through the sound and visual waves we flounder in, the undertow.

I know why the creatures came to me as the rain began to fall again. They are me and I am them and they and I know it.

 

Can’t you feel that too?

 

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Don’t Trust the Status Quo. Trust the Possibilities.

You’re tired. You stay up to catch up and tired turns to over tired. You close your eyes but can’t unwind. I have a way to trick my mind toward rainbows and kittens. So called sleep experts say stay away from screens when you wake up in the middle of the night but they obviously know nothing about the power of television programming on the unconscious. Deep breathing while thrashing in bed just pisses me off. I need Shark Tank where dreams come true.

 

Hello morning news that tells me fast food restaurants are going up in Nashville as fast as the food they make.  That’s how they put it. Look how progressive Nashville is. Slow people eating fast food. Let another day begin. We can fight about health care while we choke down cheap meats.

 

Dawn light’s silver beams stunningly sweep the steel surfaces of the massive structures that now line the city road linking plantation memories to town.  Steely towers replace wood poles for wires that cross the tangled sky. To hide them underground would cost money better spent on what I wonder?

Sleep drunk drivers clog the passing lane of Nashville’s pot hole neglected inner city speedway like sociopaths.  Swerving semis hold their ground ignorant or insolent to my flashing lights. Why are so many trucks on this road? They must be part of the construction boom turning an unplanned town into a short sighted city. It’s the middle of the day. A 15 minute ride will double like most days. I’m forced below the speed limit. I could change lanes but they are covered like packed pay parking lots that dot downtown. Comatose drivers are weapons against humanity. My radar is tuned for disaster. My car finds a hole and darts like a fugitive running from the law with nothing to lose. I thread through the exodus like Pacman.

This is the cost of progress.  Traffic and crime are not compensated by the understaffed overpriced overrated restaurants or crowded crappy cluster homes popping up on treeless ground to enclose the herds of newcomers who will not have room on the street to park their cars. Progress is for profiteers.

 

Nashville was number six in the country for rising heat index a few years ago. We hadn’t even gotten started shoveling humans into bird houses on treeless lots.  Replaced nature with cement. Made the cement mixer the state bird and sold the once peaceful state park as an attraction. Opportunists saw a good buy in. They don’t live here but they own here and what do they care about the quality of life that will be a renter’s headache?

 

We don’t bother with infrastructure. We don’t zone. We don’t regulate. If you’ve got the cash, we’ve got a lot you can mow down.   Let freedom ring.

 

I don’t recognize this two lane country road today that connects Franklin to Brentwood. It’s been clear cut since I was here two weeks ago. Oh screw trees anyway. They’re just a fire hazard. Look at the Redwoods in California! We don’t want problems like that here. We live in a basin that holds smog. A slow death from carbon monoxide is more subtle, more Southern.

Sleep drunk drivers sling swaying loads across the broken lines. I just like that line so I put it in. And also, I’m obsessed with zombie drivers on crowded streets. I don’t dare ride my bike anymore lest one of the undead raises a cell phone beside my narrow lane. Or maybe they’re on an Ambien ride.  Or maybe they’re just high. Do the opiate addicted masses drive cars around town? I have no idea but I’m not taking chances.

 

It’s good to stay put. The best nights are dinner parties with friends anyway.  You do need a place for friends to park. But your friends are less visible in the expanse now. Friendship is no longer a contact sport. It’s easy to lose track of people who aren’t in your immediate world. There are so many immediate worlds to navigate these days, some of them virtual but nonetheless exhausting. We are not our World War II parent’s generation who put a premium on civility and social skills maintaining relationships even when challenged. We don’t have to. No one expects it.

 

I’m from the last generation to know life before and after the internet and cell phones. Once our memories are gone there will be no others who know both. There will be no others who consciously crossed over. The impressions here are pressed into type to preserve the outrage that my generation made famous. 

We can’t trust that the existing state of affairs is acceptable. There are not as many legal limits to killing us as we expect from the keepers of a loving country. If it takes a village, it takes a village of individuals who have done due diligence. It takes a village willing to shift when the wind smells like sulfur.

 

 

 

 

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Wonderful and Terrible

I teach yoga to the veterans and when they don’t show up I hang out in what stands for their lobby given the coffee maker and odd array of stained chairs.

I chitchat with the mostly old guys who come to Operation Stand Down for companionship and shelter.

 

A radiant sky turns black. Gale force winds swiftly strain branches and rain ricochets to the sky from the murky pavement in waves. A roomful of heads turn.

Wire rimmed granny glasses and a head of brown curls frame the face of an ageless fellow with an unwavering grin. He regards the storm and me.

“It’s wonderful and terrible! “

 I concur.

“I want to get out in it”, he says.

I agree though neither of us makes a move toward the blitz.

 

And then it’s over as quickly as it began.

I’m left with the joyful resonance of wonderful and terrible.

 

Our unavoidable political process

My youngest son

The yoga business

The animals that eat and get eaten

We people that love and hurt and hurt each other

Abundance and the fear of loss

Poverty and the hope of redemption

The rush tinged with terror

A placid pond with vicious mosquitoes

The lightning bolt in a purple sky

The earth’s thirst quenched and the choking flood.

 

From my singular position to the macrocosm I suddenly realize it’s all the same.

At once and always

 

This is the beautiful wonder-filled life we were handed

This is the one we were born to love

To want to get out in it no matter its nature, is ours.

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