Daily Archives: December 16, 2015

Philadelphia Story

Originally posted 12/8/2011.

Overheard words
on a Philadelphia street
a toothless woman

a rusty gun 

Been quivering for two full days now
as I’ve tried to decide
how to steal and reuse them
in a context of my own choosing —

how to create
a suitable conversation
not slanted
to redneck imagery

Perhaps I’m quivering because
I can’t decide
why that was the first context I imagined
to fit those words

Perhaps that’s why I’m working so hard
to ensure that you know 
that I’m putting someone else’s words
to work for me

Perhaps because I myself
have grown toothless and rusty
by making the original conversation an evil to rail against 
I get to feel smiley and shiny again

Whatever the words got caught on
They landed in my ear
Now they’re trying to leave my mouth
and having a hell of time doing it

I don’t know where they want to go
Per usual I never even looked up to see
who in Philadelphia
was using them


List Of Demands

“Wait, what? A

You want to call this

Raise its font
to terror levels? 

Untwist its facts
so they lie straight
and flat?”

that is what we want,

and it is our hope
that it becomes
what you want
as well,

because for it
to stop happening
this has to become what
you want.

There are more,
many more in fact, but 

long before
we talk about those —

this one.
This One.


Mountain that is
above all and darkening
Valley and looming as if
it had invented that word. Valley
that opens out into Plain
south of here or so we’ve heard and
stays dark into late morning thanks to
Mountain and still shadows cool 
at midday. 

Those born
in Mountain’s shadow,
in this Valley, 
are blessed and also sheltered
and occasionally threatened when 
storm or errant sound triggers
a slide of snow or mud into villages,
taking homes, farmlands, pets, 
futures and pasts and 
oh, everything away although
when it is quiet it is indeed
perfect.  Mountain makes it 
perfect by adding danger
to peace. Threat to safety.
Dark to sunlight.

Those south of here
where Valley becomes Plain
don’t get to understand this ever.

Now and then we speak 
as one, in voice of Valley, 
and elect to send Plain
a touch of Mountain threat,
a touch of nation building — 
we bring them Shadow then
and wreck them for
their own good. Be like us,
we say. Be like us and like us
for what we’ve wrought — 

they don’t, though; stupid people of Plain —
understanding is not for people

not of Mountain, not for people
not of Valley. Perfection’s

not for them, ever.