New Poetry: Fun and Flames

robin-williams-sitting-with-hat-and-sweater-ftr

So much going on now. I am so sad that Robin Williams has taken his own life. I have written about my depression and suicidal thoughts in the past. In many ways Robin defined my generation. Culturally we were, or are, a lot like his public persona: manic and unable to put down roots. I think it is why so many view Gen Xers as lazy and irresponsible. It took us a long time, at least as a group, to figure out what we wanted to be when we grew up, and we all grew up with Robin.

On the other hand there is the news out of Ferguson, which many rightfully fear will be overshadowed by Robin’s passing. We cannot allow that to happen. As events unfold the police there damn themselves more and more, and the lies surrounding Michael Brown’s murder become more apparent we have to keep talking about this. Too many young Men of Color are cut down every year by the police and nary an eye is blinked.  Well, I am blinking, at both.

The Cabinet

Don’t share your pain with me
I have no right to it
voyeur on the sidelines
needing that glimpse
of brilliance that never dulls
save when it does

What could any of us know
what could we say of your pain
hidden right in front of us
kept locked away tight
in a cabinet made of laughter
you harvested from our hearts

It is too late now
to ask you to open it
to let the pain free
to convince  you
it is not worth keeping
you rid yourself of it
in the most obvious way

We can open it now
if we choose
examine each broken trinket
know your pain for our own
or we can leave it
and appreciate your craft
the desperate love
shining through in your cabinet

 

Payment Due

Five
hundred
years

Five centuries
of deliberate cruelty
of childish sadism
masked as prudence
or providence

Decade after decade
using the shackle
and the lash
to milk what we can
from bodies not like ours

And when we finally own
that we cannot own
we show more love and concern
for the men who lost “property”

And we fear
oh how we fear
we see vibrant
young
black bodies
and see violence in those eyes
to excuse our holding them down
for another generation

Or maybe it is something else
maybe we have to see violence
maybe there has to be violence
because deep in our hearts
we know we’ve got it coming

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