Friday, December 5, 2014


Life is full of loneliness, misery and unhappiness...and it's over so quickly.
                                                                         Woody Allen

The same could be said of the morning newspaper,
part of our breakfast table still-life
along with cereal box, tea bag and bowl.
The paper comes wrapped in plastic
useful for dumping cantaloupe seeds and rind.
The news is also rancid, read online last night. Once is enough.
It is all increments of suffering which cast a pall
over my oatmeal. The radio agrees. Turn it off she says.
Violins are incapable. Even Coltrane cannot haul it away.

The Dutch signified death with decayed flowers
or flies in the arrangement of fruit.
Print, like insects, blackens the petal of the page…
choke-hold, hands-up, mass graves, death row, separatists,
decapitations, molestation, dirty money, drones
frack the common air.

I take refuge in the drama of the sports section,
that improvisational theater which signifies nothing.
Strategy with stretchers, stats to ponder.
Sublimated rage, controlled violence, passion spent
except when the spigot won’t close, they take it home
and the story moves to page one alongside the carnage.

Can I steel myself against the breaking news?
I shall read it for omissions; for all that is un-newsworthy.
The missing generosity. Unannounced miscegenation.
A song heard across a border. Safe arrival of planes
not disappeared, the welcoming arms at airports.

Novelists, said Graham Greene, aim for truth
while journalists write fiction. This is my morning hope,
that what I’m reading is a litany of agreed-upon lies.
Real life is our landlord planting a camellia bush,
the two Pyrenees dogs walked by our window every morning,
the rash that healed overnight and friends calling
to check on last week’s infirmities. 

All of the above are true.
The parched, the flood and every station between.
Para-military police too real to dismiss.
Golden boughs un-leafing.
Have we moved an inch? Forward or back, I cannot tell.
The empire declines and falls with a thud... as it must.
At the breakfast table buds have opened in the vase.
I am adversarial with the macro, affectionate with the micro,
held in the tension of the in-between.

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