Daily Archives: May 16, 2017

Poppies

In my neighbor’s yard,
red poppies.

Scrape a bagel, they say, and you
can grow some flowers.

On the next table over in the cafe,
bagels dotted with black.

Eat a bagel, they say, and you may
fail a test for opioids.

You can’t escape
the prevalence 

of such things.
My little hometown

has both a bagel place and
overdoses. They sell

cream cheese and Narcan
in the strip mall. 

In Afghanistan, 
there are fields of poppies.

In the US,
there are fields of dead

killed around and by
the poppies.

Read the fine print.
You’ll see

I’m right. Policy 
and breakfast and 

poppies, lovely
and filling and deadly,

side by side to greet us
in the morning light. We need

so many drugs
to get through to the next day.


Mean Streak

Got a mean streak
when it comes to
self-preservation.

I approach hazards
with a megaphone
and holler, “Yes, Yes,” 
then plunge ahead.

No hesitation,
no measured response;
just drop everything
and jump from
every edge 
that presents itself.

No matter 
how long the fall,
no matter how sharp 
the rocks at the bottom.

No matter who’s watching.
Someone has to be watching;
if no one’s watching, 
how will I know
the perfectly wrong thing to do
when every foolish act
has always felt so much like 
worship?

Seek wisdom in my wreckage.
What brilliance may be found
in the twisted mess of my life
as if this crumpled random
were as planned as any sculpture.
The splatter 
at the bottom of the cliff
can be read
as Rorschach for now 
or as divination, a painting
of the future;

I give myself to that oracular mission.

As for those times when
I play an ordinary man
who puts on pants in the morning,
goes to work, comes home
tired, secure in 
his living?

I’ve got a mean streak
when it comes to him.
He’s adequately
successful and not at all
troubling,

poor thing. Messing him up
feels like a service, 
like art, even as he passes,

screaming, into the void.