I predicted the results of the election, and the death of the republic
I warned of financial collapse and the beginning of the pandemic
I shouted right in your face that you needed to protect your investment
I told you the university you chose faced regulatory reassessment
I knew your car was built by underpaid and untrained workers
And I mentioned you’d get heart disease if you ate too many burgers
If you listened, you’d know your new hoover would be recalled
And that the new prescription you filled will make you go bald
I laid out the argument against a global corporate cooperative
But reviewer number two insisted I’m being too negative
It is too depressing, I’m told, to always focus on disaster
We’ll just hope for the best and muzzle the forecaster
If we focused on our impending doom incessantly
We’d be paralysed with fear you declare contemptuously
So stop crying about all the amenities to be lost
We’d rather stroll contentedly to our next holocaust
I know you’re distracted by things much more important
And sometimes my entreaties come across as mordant
So you tune out what is most difficult to hear
And focus on beauty and how to calm your fears
You need clarity and can’t take it all in at once
So I should expect a certain amount of avoidance,
And I know the daily clamour distorts true prophecy
But I still want to be part of the chorus, not the cacophony
You’re usually expected to put
most of your attention on one person
at the center of all the action,
but I always get distracted by the
squire or the sullen daughter
or the doctor who just seemed so
unimpressed when her boss was
leading the rounds, showing off
for the residents.
I love how some secondary
characters manage to make it all
about themselves with an eye roll
or a sigh or a blank expression.
I guess it’s just fellow feeling
as I know I will never be the
central figure in any story,
perhaps not even my own,
but I still take solace in the
fact that supporting characters
sometimes become stars.
She’d always walk up and start talking
as if you were already in the middle
of a conversation. At first, I’d ask her
what the Hell she was talking about,
but I soon learned her explanations
were too long and circuitous to be of
any value. Best to just wait it out,
and eventually the picture would
come into focus. You’d suddenly
get it—like a Faulkner novel,
and then you’d start thinking how
Faulkner probably knew someone
just like her, and it wasn’t about
Freud’s stream of consciousness;
it was just about the way some people
talk. I mean, how they tell a story,
and you start to realize the most
interesting stories are the ones that
seem to have no point at all.
You start to think you could tell
a story like that. You’re thinking how
it would be greater than Faulkner and
all that when she puts her hand on
your shoulder and says, “Slow down, partner,
you done lost me a long time ago.
A Hell of a long time ago. “
Most stories for children
are insanely cruel.
Filled with baby-eating witches,
and lawless fledglings flung
to the winds, we whisper our
reassurances that their worst
nightmares will never be real
so long as they trust us
I don’t think she ever loved me.
We’d sleep together, but she
never touched me in bed.
If I tried to stroke her face,
she’d pull away in disgust
with a violent shake of contempt.
From time to time, she’d run
away but return in due time.
She didn’t seem interested in
anyone else, so we appeared
doomed to share grudging company.
Maybe she was happy cohabiting
in shared shelter with no feeling.
Maybe she really longed for love,
but dreamed only of joining
a tight pack of her own kind.
The bulwark is protection
from him, not for him.
He sidles along
Touching the sides,
looking about furtively,
imagining tunnels and
catapults that could,
in another time and
circumstance, be his aids.
He’s come this far,
but in his old age
he has no choice
but to keep searching
for an opening,
for he’ll have no
ingress without invitation.
And at last, he finds
the wound in the wall,
slides through the
and follows what appears
to be light.