She was drunk, struggling to articulate
Lengthy pauses before each sentence
Halting, frustrated speech.
I’ve seen this before
She fights to be conscious, despite the sleeping pill
Her mind heavy
Her body stubborn
Her tongue a lead weight.
I’ve seen this before
She is deep in the throes of neurological degeneration
Forcing thoughts through the thick walls
Of her solid-shrunk brain.
All of them demanding to be heard,
To be understood
Willing their selves past mental barriers
Deliberately balancing simple words
Like a child stacks blocks
With their fullest effort.
At the end of a long day
You deserve to sit down
Put your feet up
And do what you have to do
Life is full of gains and losses.
We live, we love, we lose,
We find new loves to lose.
Sometimes we pull away from them,
Sometimes they pull away from us.
People ebb and flow
In and out of my life.
I want to keep all of them
Forever in my arms
But I can only hold
Off the ground at once.
And if someone struggles to be put down
It wouldn’t be loving
To refuse them.
going up the hill to the house, we
saw flowers that she loved, and picked them
black eyed susans, sweet williams, daisies, columbine.
we gripped them in our plump warm hands.
by the time we made it, panting,
having stopped for toads and all the small things,
we presented them to her half-wilted.
“ragweed gives me allergies” she would say, plucking one of them out.
the rest would go in a vase of honor on the kitchen table
a small token of each others’ love.
going down the hill to the creek, we
see flowers that she loved, and pluck them
dandelions, sweet williams, violets, asters.
at the bottom trickles clear water
over mossy gray rocks
and we tip her ashes in.
they are white
like her hair
like her devotion
white like the sugar in her blood
like the angels she adored.
they swirl the water opaque
atop it we scatter the flowers
a painter’s palette of Missouri colors
blackberry, butter yellow, sap green, slate.
the sandy ashes sink.
it takes a full hour for them to wisp away
grain by grain into the gentle landscape.
we’re used to waiting for her.
no matter how we tried to rush,
she always did move slowly,
tasting her fine wine time.
You know what I hate?
I can’t look.
I avoid it because it makes me sick.
I don’t watch the news because it’s poison, twisted scenarios, biased accounts.
Is there even such a thing as truth?
Or is truth in the eye of the beholder?
Science cannot measure ethics.
Science cannot measure a human heart.
When people look into their own pasts,
All they see
Is what they need to believe.
Even history is a tenuous thing.
I know people who believe in history.
It is written by human hands, filtered through human hearts, wrung through the gossip machine over and over.
They say Ramses was king from such to such a year.
This is all the truth that remains.
What does that matter, what does it mean?
But there are patterns of truth
To a discerning eye.
I see the future
Because of history.
I know where we’re headed
Because of history.
There will be no apocalypse.
But the age of America’s empire
Is coming quickly to a close.
Our decay as a nation is imminent.
It will not happen suddenly
But it will happen faster than any other empire’s close.
Technology is a joining of hands.
It accelerates everything.
We learn faster, we forget faster.
We share language and culture faster.
We are running on fast forward.
People are jaded more quickly.
People can see the patterns
In their own behavior
Like they never could before.
And when America falls,
Many of those joined hands
Will be pulled down with it.
Amidst the chaos,
A dictator will rise.
We will choose security over freedom.
That is what humans choose
The world will not end.
The world does not end.
Humanity can survive
But we repeat our mistakes.
Sometimes we even worsen.
Yesterday was beautiful.
Our biggest problems
Were sexual harassment and bullying.
This was a mark
Of our success as a nation.
The cultural backlash
People are getting shunted into camps
Driven away, caged.
Rights and freedoms for all are shrinking back
Into rights and freedoms for some.
I fear we have witnessed the peak.
Today begins the decay.
Maybe it’ll just be
A bigenerational thing
But this feels stronger.
I’m afraid our time is up.
We’re due for an economic depression
We’re due for a major war.
I’m not afraid of death.
I’m not afraid of poverty.
I’m afraid of my own inability to act.
The situation is disgusting
And those in power
Are equally disgusting.
Everything is disgusting.
It fills me with frustration.
Watching the news
Is just a shitshow.
We are watching ourselves
Flush ourselves down the drain.
There are millions of people
Who know how to fix it
Who want to fix it
Who cannot fix it.
I want to fix it
But stronger is my want
For personal freedom.
We might influence culture here and there as individuals
We might start a club, write a book, invent a tool
We can devote ourselves to a cause
And leave a small dent in evil.
But nothing brings true peace.