The Elephant’s Foot

Standard

The last vestige

of catastrophe

is the open wound

which refuses to heal.

Meltdown in slow motion,

it cannot be allowed

room to breathe.

Domes of rebar,

abandoned forest,

crumbling infrastructure,

and red tape

keeps only the corium

contained.

We all feel

the open secret lingering

in the air,

falling all around us

like snow.

The truth is so plainspoken,

so brash as it stares you in the face

yet no one can do a thing

but trudge on with their lives.

If you dig too deep

and get to the bottom,

you will only find

what you knew was true all along.

An immovable object,

giving off irresistible forces,

leaves its indelible marks

in silence.


RE:visions

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I hope to have some clue soon,

as you do,

as to who it is

I’m looking at

at this moment.

Apparition, I

can’t be sure if

you or I

are all there.

I know what I’ve seen,

meaning I know nothing

for certain.

I wish not to foment doubts,

but when are we not fibbing

to ourselves about something.

Gone in an instant.

Hollow

as the promises I

made to myself.

Walk right through the walls

I’ve built,

made of finely chiseled,

yet false,

precepts.

Am I here for a good reason?

Or was there something

I just couldn’t accept?


Equilibrium

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These two left feet of mine,

they get me places.

Neither in grace nor style,

but I end up wherever I must,

mostly on time.

I’m well-aware

of how I happen to be

positioned,

I feel each fluctuation.

With the gyroscopes in

my ears, I remain

level-headed

no matter how I crane

my neck.

Featherless biped,

I pole vault with each pace,

leap and bound;

not enough drag to stop me,

not enough lift to send me

soaring.

Maybe,

if I push a little harder,

I’ll get somewhere.


Hydra

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Thick, tainted blood coursing

through black veins,

legs like two talon-tipped tree trunks

drag a confused creature

through the muck.

Breath of pure, unadulterated pestilence,

the smell alone keeps all

but the most intrepid

far away.

It picks the bones and chain mail

from seven sets of sated, grinning teeth.

There are many mouths to feed,

and all of them like to savor

each morsel.

A gnarled, writhing rat’s nest,

growing back stronger and fuller

in defiance of defeat.

An inexhaustible capacity

for contingency

plans.

Seven falls to six,

poison blood mist sprays

from mangled stump,

then two more heads

come roaring back —

a flesh-wound quickly repaired.

Much worse than a strong enemy,

is one that’s well-prepared.


Canary Trap

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Anyone with a high enough perch

yearns to be heard.

The higher-ups watch like hawks,

like harriers staring down

through the spaces between

the bars,

no need to rattle the cage.

Let them talk,

let them spin their yarns.

Tell them what they’d like to hear,

down to every, minute detail

but skewed

tailored anew to everyone you told.

No one thinks about the things that “everybody knows.”

Stymphalian birds,

cruising low and slow

surveying the land,

hungry bronze beaks glinting

long grass blown flat

to the ground

with each

beat of their razor-edged wings.

The hammer and nail

follow the trail

and retrace their tracks

back to the little bastards

who first chirped.


Along the Garden Path

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We’re walking the old dirt road with wildflowers,

seeing the new sod from before over and over again.

That I can see the end and am lead astray frustrates us.

What we have established has collapsed still stands,

we were at least right about that.

From there we have to reevaluate what happened

I see the trail goes on from here it’s pretty short

but I’m curious as to how I got to where I am.

Every one who comes here loses,

dropping like a ton of fruit flies drunk with power.

The few raced past the exit turned back,

even they couldn’t believe their eyes.

When they saw it through,

everything matched up with what was not expected.


Golden Hour

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A crackling bonfire,

devotes all of its passion

to what its given,

until it’s reduced to glowing cinders.

You can’t help but look

on those ruby embers,

and wonder if you’re playing God

by letting your cup runneth over them

before you go to bed.

You brought them into this world

and now you’re taking them out

while they still have so much light left.

Does the Sun feel guilty,

in the slightest,

for leaving you in the dark

every night?

You can’t help but ask,

“am I the smoke, or am I the ash?”

It dawns on you, then,

while waiting for the sunset

that you never see “the end.”

That you’re not spent

day-after-day,

week-after-week.

While waiting for the next “good morning”

you’re thankful that the sun,

cares enough

to give you time and space

to rest.


Byzantium

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Bystanders look

to the lumbering mass,

leaving long shadows

across their paths.

Marching at glacial pace

it shuffles in place,

too dense to move much.

Stained glass windows

at the ground floor

obscure a well-appointed lobby,

unoccupied.

The designers weren’t that clever,

everyone knows all the decisions

are made in the basement,

where there’s insulation.

Everything outside the tower

is a blind-spot to the operators

while they pull the levers

and argue amongst themselves.

The decaying superstructure,

rarely course-corrects –

it’s well-suited to clashing

with other titans of its kind,

and much better at picking on others

smaller than it’s size,

and little else.

An illusion of imposing strength,

a well-placed stone

is all it would take to

topple the colossus.

We already live in the ruins,

might as well act like it.


Potemkin Village

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Colorful façades line the waterway,

jutting out from nowhere

like weeds wading in the marsh.

No one goes there anymore,

it’s too crowded,

or so they say.

Announcements blare

from the watchtower.

“There is no way to appease

those who criticize us

from afar.

Repeat after me,

they hate us for who we are.”

Something is amiss,

watching the patrols march

along the perimeter.

No one enters,

no one exits.

Well-oiled machine,

you are.

“Repeat after me,

we are lucky to live

in such abundance.

We have more

than enough.”

Tumbleweeds

dance in the town square.

Bus loads of enthused

locals arrive in the nick of time,

to greet guests.

Both visits scheduled well in-advance.

“Repeat after me,

you are free to leave,

if you can’t keep up.

Cross the river

if you prefer

to live in fear.”

This is all exactly

as it appears.

Nothing to see here.


Road Rash

Standard

As you approach

your personal best,

a classic fishtail

jettisons you to the ground

with a whipcrack.

Earth,

caught in the tangle

of opposing gravitational forces,

careens toward you

at hundreds of thousands

of miles an hour.

But you are going

slightly faster,

bouncing as you make impact,

you land on your back

and come to painful rest.

Abrasions on your

forearms, knees and shoulders

where the gravel

made contact.

Shirt torn and bloodied.

When you stand,

and dust yourself off,

you feel all the bruises

to your ego.

You want to tell yourself

good lies

like “I’m totally fine”

but must confess,

those never mend

broken skin.

It doesn’t look like it

but you know just

how lucky you are

to limp home.