They, Who

They invented ghosts

to cover salted earth.

They taught children

formalities to soften

dispositions, to sell

hands and arms as maps

gesturing into the unknown,

directing willed doom.

They coordinated feigned

knowledge to digest untruth

and reteach us until soil saturates

until air solidifies

until water congeals.

They were the subjects

who were never subjected

to the uncontrolled.

They were never subjugated

rather insulated until history

finally broke its own mold.

They, who created the cycle

yet never conquered love.

To Wear Disease Around Your Neck

The ebola necklace at the flea market

was not in the shape of a microbial

ambiguous blur, nor did its reddened

insides resonate on a blue slide.

No, the item was not an artist’s rendering

of some surreal flattened figure.

The ebola necklace gemstone

was a vial in which liquid

shifted as its steel chain-link swung

before the pale vendor gushing

about the ebola necklace.

The worm-like replication

floated peacefully in its cage

hanging from a wooden rack

among the inane as privileged customers

laughed while touching the novelty,

the disease only temporary to them;

it, the object between plump, pallid fingers ̶

the ebola necklace at the flea market.

An Encounter

In 2013 I saw burning streets

and violence natural and unnatural,

a city on fire.

I helped a man as old

as the three digit temperature

up the subway stairs

on my way to work

and each step took

ten heart beats.

The sweat became

our salvation as his charcoal

face sagged and showed no emotion.

His shaking cane gave no support

so I took his arm and led him above

steaming concrete into aching light.

I expected gratitude and received

none, which was better somehow

I walked through solidifying heat

and desired to keep the encounter

secret in order to appreciate

its value and yet I ruined

it by bragging in casual conversation

w/ a wealthy customer.

Just like that it didn’t matter

anymore like everything else

out in the open

smoldering under

our city’s setting sun.

At the Bodies by Route 38

I saw a child walk over skeletons

as she searched for someone,

something, someone…

I drove past her-

the little girl in a summer dress

by herself in the graveyard.

I parked the car

and saw more humans

working on sprinklers.

I walked toward where I thought

her grave was, it took me a minute,

a middle aged couple approached,

I was worried they were her parents,

but they weren’t, just some other parents,

then the woman turned back and sat in the car.

I watched the man sip from his beer can

and cry silently as I stood there relieved

that they weren’t her parents.

I found her, but I couldn’t see her, no matter

how much I willed it,

although she was there.

I said, “I’m sorry if I seem presumptuous.”

It had been a long time

since I’d visited her last.

I sat there cross-legged

in the grass and looked

at the sky and the grass-

I didn’t mind the highway sounds

at first, but then the noises made me

anxious and I left her faster than I should’ve.

The final word that came out was “sorry”

and I departed slowly away

leaving her bones w/ bumblebees and withered roses.

“Militant Throws King’s Colt”

VOTES FOR WOMEN

materialized five years

after you had sewn

the phrase into the material

of your dress,

Emily.

 

Why did you throw

yourself in front

of the king’s horse

that early Summer’s day

at the Epsom Derby?

 

Why not starve?

Cut wires?

Smash paintings?

Burn Mansions?

 

Emily, your name still

passes ears by much unlike hooves

that trample pale flesh and bones.

 

Were the Pankhursts proud

of your endeavor?

Was it more than just inequality

eating thru you?

 

How would your mother feel?

Was violent death worth

a card inscribed

with liars’ names?