We call things ‘mixed’ as though
  they don’t belong together;
  this is strange.

All that is
  belongs together, for
  here we are,

Or maybe…

We call them ‘mixed’ because
  they come from different places, but
  everything is from
  a different place from everything else —
  it’s just a matter of
  how far apart.

Such mixture as there is
  brings all the flavor;
  such togetherness as we can manage
  makes the experience of it possible.

So, sure, we are mixed:
  Mixed up,
  Tossed around,
  Cooked together, and


{ expendable }

another life that barely started
laid upon the sodden earth,

another tree cut down, uprooted,
branches lost forever;

but choruses of lies turn silent
with the keening wind

when those we deem expendable 
are used up once again.

 the day breaks beautiful, and painted,
 but the sorrowed heart

 seeks for answers not forthcoming,
 people have moved on —

 so much we see is just landscaping,
 hiding all the holes,

 except for those inside we carry,
 or, that carry us.

another future once imagined,
placed upon a shelf,

a circumstantial enterprise,
an existential guilt;

a fenced-in yard we can’t escape,
a walk that has no goal,

the place of the expendables,
our clearinghouse 

for souls

on understanding a microscopic society

there is a microscopic world
that you and i have never seen,
inside a room just down the street,
behind the marketing machine

but though it may seem very small,
and full of swirl and vertigo,
we should respect it, as a world,
and let it find it’s fate, i know.

there is a large and frightening world
that you and i must daily see,
where every room and every street
is tumbling and barely free

of those who have to have control,
and cannot sleep unless they do —
who don’t respect the little worlds
of all outside their retinue.

but here’s the thing for those who rule:
do not control, inspire us —
or you will find us little folk
a pretty nasty


the Validators

They ran our love through all their screens,
Then told us we were not a match;
Their apparatus brought to bear
On anyone their snares could catch
These butterfly collectors who
Place everyone behind the glass,
In categories, rimmed with signs,
A handful from a teeming mass
Identities defined by them
Are not the main thing, no. Instead,
It is the locks, the box, the cage,
And making sure their subjects all

Stay dead

painted chairs

we spent our days in painted chairs
beneath the drunk and dusty sun,
and waited for the n.f.l.
to tell us who had won —

the blue, with johnnie walker red,
the pink, slow with a stillhouse black,
were ready for the games to start,
to see who got the sack —

the summer turned to early fall,
we left our painted chairs behind,
while those who aired their grievances
were idolized and fined —

though seasons change, the conscience can’t:
we only reap the things we plant,
and each must move as best he dares
or else we’re all just painted

The Moral Throne

I was taught that ignorance
Is to be pitied; none of us,
After all, came to earth particularly
Enlightened, and all of us came
Defenseless, selfish, and needy.
Many do not know what
You or I may particularly know,
But all of us come by our knowledge
(As we do all forms of riches)
By combinations of internal
And external circumstances.

We all know this.

We all know this. Yet…

Many take the ultimate position
Of privilege; namely, that they are
The only true possessors of morality,
Or ethics, or right-and-wrong distinctions.
From this position, they judge all others
Who do not see the world exactly as they do
Not as ignorant, but as evil.

All people who ever lived.

So the early twenty-first century
Woman or man sees themselves as sitting
On a sort or moral throne, and only
Their own ignorance of history has them
Believing themselves and their own ancestors
Innocent of the common shortcomings of humanity,
Or unaware that future moral judges will
Calumnize them, as well —

Which is very much to be pitied,
As it extremely unfortunate.

Happily, we as people
Are better than the ideals we often espouse;
We find individuals in life to be
Limited without ascribing those limitations
To wickedness, although we often do so
In the abstract.

People who came before us knew
Both more and less than we do;
They knew differently, as circumstances
Dictated. Some believed in ideas you or I
May find abhorrent, but most
Were the same as we are —


Trying their best,

Ignorant (like us!),

And full of all the good and evil
Humans are prone to.

It is almost universally accepted
That we should not accuse
Those not able to defend themselves,
And past generations cannot, by definition.

So make choices, as we all must,
With some degree of humility;
We are all in the dark, after all,
As to most of what there is to know,
And wisdom, while facing the future,
Treads lightly on the past.


When you think you know the future,
Many strange things will you do;
When we’re right, we don’t think “lucky” —
That’s the human point of view.

Public lives are filled with hubris,
Most are not accountable,
For the world is asymmetric:
This seems insurmountable.

What was genius now is folly,
What was right’s been proven wrong —
Yet we think that we’re so different,
Like we knew it all along.

Those who can’t control their lives say
How the country should be run;
Promising a new tomorrow,
But when all is said, and done,

Billions upon billions of our
Choices make us what we are:
Termites on a tiny planet,
Circling a fading star.

Life: it is a vast unfolding.
Fate does not care how we feel —
Make the future that’s today, then:
It’s the only one

That’s real

The Man Who Shows Up

The man who shows up
Brings his manifest imperfections
For all to see.
He cannot pose
As having all the answers,
For presence makes him

The man who shows up
Cannot be idolized, or lionized,
Because reality has a smell.
You can’t really photoshop
An odor —
Even in your mind.

The man who shows up
Might be a carnival barker one day
And a dark cloud the next:
It turns out
He has moods, too.

The man who shows up
Grinds away,
Often trying to do right today,
What he didn’t do so well

But the man who disappears —
He gets the biggest love,
For he can be idolized,
Has all the answers,
Can be a seeming ‘rock’
With a perfect hint of cologne,
Because he’s never there long enough
For the cracks to show.

So we probably shouldn’t wonder
Why the men who show up

Have all disappeared