Daily Archives: March 7, 2015

Impartial Observers

Originally posted 7/14/2010.

That lump we can see
in the near distance
is a nation.
We once thought it motionless but
are beginning to think
it may be moving. 
Hard to say from here.

If it is moving,
it appears to be crawling.

We have heard from the citizens of that nation
that some among the masses there
believe they are standing tall.

Others believe that they are crushed flat
by those who believe
they’re standing tall on their own
but who in fact are standing
upon them.

Perhaps no one in the nation
is crawling at all,
and no one is completely still;
maybe what we see from here
is the ground
sliding away
from beneath them.

That nation seemed so far away,
once upon a time,
and we were impartial observers
from this high vantage point. 

We’d thought we’d found the perfect spot
to watch it happen from a distance.
Now we have to admit
that right where we’re standing

the footing is starting to writhe.

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Bleeding Out

New poem.

The symptoms
of exsanguination
colloquially known as “bleeding out”
include

anxiety
blue lips and fingernails

unofficially sanctioned neighborhood demarcations
flimsy justifications of hair trigger rage

low or no urine output
profuse sweating

a profound distrust of received wisdom
easy to believe conspiracies and backroom handshakes

shallow breathing
dizziness

imprisonment
educational poverty

confusion
chest pain

the elevation of cultural assimilation
to sacramental status

loss of consciousness
low blood pressure

carnival barkers on the news
a camera on every corner

rapid heart rate
weak pulse

death upon death
upon no longer unexpected death

the echoes
of centuries of trickle and drip

turning into a flood
of names to remember

a cloven nation
drenched in blood
that should never have seen
the light of day