THE END OF INNOCENCE Listening to Henley’s – Heart of the Matter
Just when you think you’re ‘grown’ – Oh no, honey. That never-ending day? Just beginning
You don’t see the Heart of the Matter Until bits of flesh and brain matter come at you Flying with force spraying red onto the porch and the Window glass of the passenger’s side We draw our curtains – to watch the trial As the beast, powered by fear – goes dark Returning in a suit and tie – explaining itself to White juries – Some will empathize As science explains quickening heartrates The Battle Royale; An amygdala punching its way to gold Destroying its prefrontal cortex Science will explain ‘early trauma’ choking up What resembles pity for the perp Whose name we know Not the victims’ though. They die twice Getting lost as we scatter The holy water of good intentions Over the mass graves Of forgotten identities Forgotten answers Emotional forensics Why we fear? Why we hate? Why we act? Why we don’t? We fail every day that We don’t eradicate what kills us With every bullet With every dollar rise in A murderous stock pumped up In ability to kill and enrich at once The mass murder of hope suspiciously Triggered by happy believers Those with thoughts and prayers Like casket wreaths Obscuring the many Hearts that matter
THE UNBEARABLE EXCITEMENT OF BEING
They’re there every morning – the ones you don’t
Want to be
And before the sun reaches its crest
Something has sprung
Morbid and murderous
From an angry breast
We’ve buried the key
In tangled banks
No antidote for certainty
We’re at the interstices
Life Vs. extinction
Trapped and sordid
In tears and blood
They’re there every morning – the ones you don’t Want to be And before the sun reaches its crest Something has sprung Morbid and murderous From an angry breast No cure. We’ve buried the key In tangled banks No antidote for certainty We’re here at the interstices Of life and extinction Trapped and sordid Beings fighting. Pleasuring ourselves In tears and bloodThey’re there every morning – the ones you don’t Want to be And before the sun reaches its crest Something has sprung Morbid and murderous From an angry breast No cure. We’ve buried the key In tangled banks No antidote for certainty At the interstices Life Vs. extinction Trapped and sordid Beings fighting Pleasuring ourselves In tears and blood
To Dorothy Day: MY UNCONQUERED SOUL
I don’t get the God “CONQUERED” Redeemed There is no light that dazzles me If I was made in His image seen Why the question of my right to be If His is the sway of circumstance To cause suffering and cries out loud I’ll take my gamble with luck and chance Off my knees my head unbowed Don’t fashion a heaven amid sin and tears An afterlife to counter man’s evil Hatred and destruction – are things to fear To battle now – in righteous upheaval I’ve seen the Road straight to the Gate Detours aren’t mentioned in His scroll If He is the master of my fate Then why the bludgeoning of my soul?
I’LL BE A WOMAN MODIFIED
CARRYING MY WOMB
MY MOIST BENDOLIER
I’LL TAKE IT INTO
and PIZZA MOM & POPS
LET LITTLE MEN KNOW
THE FEAR HAS STOPPED
I’LL FLICK THEIR HEADS
OFF MY SHOULDER WITH EASE
I’LL NOT APPEASE
THEY’LL PROFESS TO ME
THEIR LOVE AND LIGHT
BEFORE VOTING AND
RECANTING MY RIGHTS
WHEN I RETURN
TO THE MEAN
I’LL HAVE A LIFE WITH MORE RIGHTS
THAN AN AR-15
G.D. FELDMAN 6/2022
THINKING PAST AND PRESENT
The concept of the drive-thru is beautiful in its simplicity. First for burgers, then donuts, carwash, and now in our clean cars, we sit for precious (monetized) minutes waiting for a macchiato – extra sweet.
I was a mad-hungry freshman, rubbing last night’s party from my irritated eyes. The fall of 1969: Saturday morning, leaving McDonald’s with my breakfast, I stood on the paper-strewn corner kicking aside shredded protestations for peace. I waited for the light to change, barely noticing the air until I opened my mouth and stuck out my greedy tongue for a salty-sweet hit of those fries. I didn’t get it. Just a bitter sampling of leftover mace, telling me that this was the intersection that ended a peace march the day before. Mace had been successful in dispersing the peace-mongers.
It would be years before I would connect our drive-thru lives to the forces behind the mace – that clung to the air that angered me for not tasting like fries.
Converting my guilt to shame.
Six months into Covid – it is a Saturday morning and I’m driving mad and unmasked to the store. According to county health officials, this epidemic was going to be a long haul. I live in a blue state but in a red county where obedient people listen to a president (who likely failed chemistry) wax poetic and pathetic about science. I turn into the shopping center parking lot, halted by the line of cars patiently waiting for a turn at the Dunkin-Donuts window. Not me! I pull out of line, opting to circumnavigate the deserted K-Mart building, creating a lateral line of attack on my destination. I wait for a few shoppers to withdraw, increasing my chances of surviving what I’m sure will be a pandemic—four people exit. The coast is clear – I don my mask and make a beeline to the front door, where I grab a cart. I breathe shallow dizzying breaths – as I study the store’s arrangement. I am cautious as I approach the domestics on the left, where, after a brief reconnaissance, I make my way out of the Finger Lakes, grabbing a few bottles of good whites. I stand for a moment in the archway leading to the reds. I know the need for urgency but linger anyway at the mercy of ratings. I am deaf to the sounds of my bacchanalian brain stuttering at the sight of French, Italian, Portugal, South African, Spain, and Venezuelan reds– mesmerizing blood-shot pinwheels in a firefight – hand-to-hand combat for space in my cart.
In my obedience to Doctor Fauci’s biblical warning that this plague will be a long haul, I fill my cart – my private Arc – two bottles of each.
My Spectrum service is broken – I mean down, not working, caput, fin, nothing. For almost ten days, I’ve watched a platoon of Spectrum trucks trace and retrace the road in front of my house to no effect. My hope for a temporary outage had sprung eternal. But now I see the drive-bys as a ploy –like a Russian May-Day parade – a show of strength offering hope where, only a few know, there is none. The outage has been long enough for me to finish Johnathan Foer’s beautiful five-hundred-page tome on love and Judaism. And long enough for me to fear my unread emails growing to legion; so many requests for my dollars to save dogs, cats, goats, donkeys, and sometimes people. Should I worry?
Spectrum seems not to worry. The billing department is sanguine, telling me I will be reimbursed ten dollars for every four hours I’ve been without service. For the first week, Spectrum outage was never, like it is now, continuous. It was more like three-hours of outage interrupted by twenty minutes of service. Even if I had the internet’s stupefying privilege of a misinformed populace right now, I could see the hand of capitalism slapping me in the face with “free enterprise.” I am free, I’ve surmised, to go without or pay dearly. I know where I, the consumer, stand. I even know where I’ll fall if I tumble down my stairs. I may or may not survive Spectrum or my fall – who knows? My cellphone won’t – having been rendered useless in an emergency because of this Spectrum outage.
Education is the best survival tool for old age
What Ari doesn’t know is that the
Truth found in education at night
Is now the lie used against you
Circling the continent twice by the
Time you awake
But you carry on as if it hasn’t
There’s frustration in being adult
When grown men fight in high-rise sandboxes
In suits bullet-proofed with dollar signs
But you carry on as if they don’t
There’s frustration in behaving grown up
When the agony of the human condition
Can be rationalized
And we carry on as if it isn’t
There’s frustration in being grown up
When the door to respond-in-kind
Remains locked by decency
Yet you pull on it anyway – as if it isn’t
There’s frustration in being grown-up
Knowing that civilizations have been lost to dreams of retribution
For the “blood-dimmed tide”
To drown the babble
AND the rabble
But you desire it anyway
There’s frustration in being grown-up
Knowing the constancy of war
Feeling the subliminal connections between
Truth and chaos.
And we carry on anyway
Holding our truth in hands folded in supplication
As we kneel, unreasonable, at the edge of age
Amid the *signs that tell us to behave like adults
We drag our middle-class, care-worn hearts
Across years of capitalist tyranny
Through periods of relative decorum
Retreating waves allowing enemies
Time to deep-fake truth
And we must behave as if they aren’t?
HOW DARE WE
How dare we believe that the ALL in
Liberty & Justice for… includes us
How dare we believe our marching
Will bring about change.
How dare we stomp on the weak
Promise of equality.
How dare we want the privilege to
Be in any space. Any place
How dare we reach into the tall
Grass of corruption to
Throttle the snake of injustice
How dare we show the audacity
How dare we?
How dare we not?