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Song of Humans

1
Hear the grunting, sniffling, chatter and shriek
Down by the city and near the creek,
Rabbits lay low, birds silent and still
"Here comes bigfoot"
They shiver and stare.
Shadows cast over thick and tall:
A mother, father, a few boys too,
Sing in delight:
Trample each anthill, smother each breath.

2
Miles away my feet scatters the dirt
Book in hands singing ho hum ho hum
Alone on the road, unbroken peace
Sweat covered under the melon sun.
Wait! Some thing moves
A squirrel, mouse, a friend or beast?
"Come!" I command with a hearty throat,
Room for man than room for men.

Out steps a lady dressed in white,
I invite the fair female to journey with me
Companions are much like roses with thorns,
Presents a second voice-
Though I have yet to heed my own.
"Come along now, hesitation wastes lifetimes or more."

3
My neighbor's pockets are six miles deep
No jewels or trinkets, not even small stones,
I give him some wine
Argiano that is,
Finest of Italy, at least to my taste,
He wobbles drunk and pours off old tales:
Time when he stumbled upon a silver coin,
Time when he fell for a lady of fame,
Time when he showered her lavish gifts,
Time when betrayal turned gold to coal
Time when he found himself with me:
"A foolish, classless poetic nerd
Serving sham to royal nobles of blue blood"
I swear on my soul, those words he did say,
Penniless and all, I throw him outside.

4
Years ago chains were bound to my flesh
Bruising the mind, body, and spirit alike,
Marble floors in winter make even the Devil
Cold.
After the beatings, shouting, bleeding scars
The tremors, shudders, lumpy porridges,
My hands met still and the chorus sung,
Just a hint, a sign, a string of light
Darkness cannot reign forever alongside hope-
Perhaps the only gift we have alone
For times written and for times that still
Remain.

5
Right or left, we've come to a crossing
Ladies first, point your finger and pray
Gamble away!

There are words, she says, town names,
Clear Markings on signs, no need to pray.
Ah...I smile:
Clear is the sky, smooth like satin seas,
Clear as the water that drips from the peak,
And yet there are storms-
Black and cold that thickens fog,
Loosens soil and turn the water
Brown,
What then? The signs are gone and if we stay
Drenched in rain and pressed by wind,
Let us pray and walk, pray and walk
Right or Left, pray and walk.

6
There’s cotton by the dozen
Floating in the air
We near the town of Torland
Walk fast and be aware.
Do not be swayed by beauty,
“Everything sags and bags”
Behind their flawless smiles
Discontent,
Like a roaring lion waits
To catch you in its jaws,
Strip you piece by piece
Till lifeless you lay in pain
Paralyzed in fear.

Walk my lady, walk
No! Do not look at that woman
Or that handsome man,
Pass over the smiles and waves
Or you shall be lost.

If you must taste false pretense
Then proceed with doubt,
Smile, laugh, and talk of babies
But one day,
if you see a crack in their masks,
Restlessness will stir your heart,
Sad to see your crumbled face,
Angry and disillusioned:
Perfection was a con
Deception all around,
Lost in years of painted dreams,
You finally woke
And screamed.


7
I know a boy from here,
His name escapes me now,
Medium built, thin, brown hair I believe,
I thought him quiet:
A boy of few words, bright, yet strange,
Read Nietzshe and Marx,
Dear God, what a sin!
Poor boy was burnt by a scarlet “L”
Tossed aside by friends and foes.

But don’t look so pitiful!
He’s doing alright that young boy,
Kept his head above water,
Grinned at hisses, smirked at growls
Now he’s off somewhere better
Reading god-knows what
Displaying his red burn proudly…
Wish you knew him,
His words were worth gold.

8

Ah! I almost forgot Mr. McVee,
Interesting fellow, mild yet strong,
Always wearing that brown coat and hat
With earphones in ears and pencil tucked behind.
If he met you he’d bow and bid you
“Good morning”
Eccentric guy, but with utmost manners,
He’d have the king laughing
And reciting Shakespeare all day.

But do not get too close,
Or receive an “L” as well,
Thinkers must be silent,
Or to the river drown.

9

“Stupid!” my white lady cries,
“That’s what they are: destroying freedom
Ruining dreams, killing innocence,
Towns like these ought to be burned!”
Her face turns red as her fists went up and down,
Steam flew out her ears and I ask,
“Have you never encountered such people before?

“Why never!” She rages,
“Selfless, honorable, and kind: that is my people!”
Why then, I mused, I must meet them,
Ask them about life and death,
Why seasons change, how we came to be,
Perhaps even dinosaurs may come out of my mouth.”

Silence, utter silence.

10

Some sleep lightly, others deep,
Some live lightly, never deep
Always awakened by thunder and pounding rain,
Every breath burnt by smoke,
Look here and there, fear everywhere.
Never less, never more.

By day they feed and plunder identities,
See their collection of porcelain masks,
Each day they change:
From the caring teacher to harshest critic,
Peace and truth forged by lies,
Where loyalty lies, that is the game.

By night, the stillness wakes and masks fall off
and as they lay
Alone in the darkness, alone with their thoughts,
Like a parasite, Fear pricks their skin,
They ache for relief
And find none.

Those who live deeply fear only one thing:
A word, a symbol as vivid as death,
“Mediocrity” they whisper
As they shiver:
Fear of living not enough, becoming “like them”
Settled and falsely content,
To wake with the same routine day by day
As if nothing but a coin operated doll
Or slave at worst.

No, as stupid as some may be perceived,
Fear is the master, pulling the strings,
Hardly seen but always there,
Evoking emotions, battling truth,
It wins…
We let it win.

11
Bow down and kiss her sheltered toes
Queen of queens, proud and tall,
May dirt never find her jeweled shoes
Or grab hold of her shining hair.
In case she whips out her tongue,
Be silent, none above.
She speaks and a crown appears
Atop her head it glimmers.
Don’t speak, be silent
None above.

She’s never tasted sweat
Other than reading books,
Never felt the pain of want
Other than the kiss of men.

Here she comes, sits across from me,
Crosses her legs and flutters her eyes,
Am I your servant? Your muse?
Though both clothed in gold,
They see yours wrapped around like a scarf,
And mine, hidden beneath a bulgy coat,
Gives delight to none but a few.
And yet with that few,
There in the deep,
I can sing
And you’re not
There.



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