You never chose the middle pathYou never chose the middle path, the placeof careful, safe and unremarkable,the sky at 10 am, the camp at base,the decaf paper cup unbreakable.You had to go with high and low and real,with rich and fast and things more notable:the sky at midnight, Himalayan-feel,the oxygen and you, unstoppable.But then your weight became too much for skies.Your melamine became a china cup.And those who cried moved on to lesser highs.They look ahead, or down, but never up.You never chose the middle path, you raced.I’m looking up, and pray that speed is graced.
The meat I eatThe meat I eat was raised with cruelty.The clothes I wear were sewn in factoriesthat toppled down. The cold realitythat death drives economics fuels more lies.The wages that I earn have nearly felledthis tired body. Meeting deadlines trumpsthe queen of hearts, who ran and jumped and yelledon my behalf, it’s midnight, stop! Blood pumpsadrenaline; brain tries to acquiesceto strange demands it doesn’t understand.No track of tears flows past dry pity’s sluice.The chickens, sewers, earners—cannot stand.And NPR said workers work just fiveof eight straight hours. That’s jive, just lying jive.
You wish you were that deerYou wish you were that deer, to graze and cropthe grass and munch some more, and never say,I wonder if I ate too much. You dropten pounds in winter, trying hard to stayalive in rain and snow and cold. You move—no tender grass—to evergreens. You tastethe woody things, the bark. You do not lovethis winter forage; still, you would not wastethat mouthful—yellow spruce. You chew and chewand swallow, chew again. Just yesterdayyou saw the robins. In the frozen dewyou yank a blade. This patience is your way.You jerk awake. Go back to work. No spring.You chew that meaningless and woody thing.
At first I likedAt first I liked that Bob was tall and showeda deference to my quirks. But still it bugsme that he smirks when others fail. It slowedmy ardor till my heart no longer tugs.The start with Luke was fast and sweet, he stolemy heart with squinty looks but then those mugswere aimed at other girls. I see his goalis him, not me, and when I ask, he shrugs.The day I met Pierre, we talked and drankcafé au lait. We’re both as cute as pugsor poodles, yet the floaty feeling shrankwhen politics revealed he thinks like thugs.So love’s elixir doesn’t come in jugsbut drams and handsome boys are often slugs.
make it, fix it, freeze itmake it, fix it, freeze it in a bell jarhigh above the cloudsthis fixing of all thingswhich contradictschange, movement, creationTuesday you liked the ideaby Sunday you had second thoughtstwo separate storiestwo different outcomesyou try them out alternativelyand decide to stayhere and now
Tickled by yourselfHe said, you can’t be tickled by yourself.You know, you always know. The primitiveOr basic brain detects the source. You tellSome lies but touch is truth. The neurons’ sieveWill pass this truth from skin to brain. It knowsThe self from other. Though you crave a roof,Safe passage crossing night to day, need showsIt cannot satisfy itself. AloofOr numb to need, those others cross bare landsInsensitive to truth though truth is inThe very touch. Some day, with open hands,They’ll beg like everyone, confessing sin.Then neurons’ sieve will pass this truth from skinto brain, but will that rare compassion win?
Lie down in fragrant dirtLie down in fragrant dirt, the field unplowed.This is a dream of course, you can’t go back.Lie down in summer—summer’s still allowedFor those who know that now is real and fact.Lie down in fields of gold while Sting sings songsOf love you found when young but lost when old.Lie down in fields of snow when sadness longsFor ends, but rise to tell remaining life untold.Lie down because you can, and not becauseYou must. Lie down for love and sleep and rest.For saying no to endless work, and pause.How else to know that life is not a test?Lie down in fields of gold, this harvest grownBy you, and rest before the sun goes down.
Your faith in violenceYour faith in violence, it counts as faith.You’re sure that if you needed to, the gunsWould help. Or maybe guns are all. The safeAnd narrow path of power always runsAnd hides behind the guns. I noticed thatThe politicians count on guns, like popesAnd every stripe of those who tell us whatIs right and wrong. I’ve given up my hopesIn faiths that tie belief to guns and bombs.Those cowards everywhere, afraid of peace—They never tire of seeing graves and tombsAnd promising the soldiers death’s release.For money always needs a guard, and guards,A gun, and guns a faith, and faith, rewards.
When I was young I wanted to be sadWhen I was young I wanted to be sadFor therein lay the mystical and great,The noble bound to bathos. How I hadTo have some depth—experience was late,I thought, but I’d create the minor modeMyself through poetry and song and artJust like a baby mouthing “m”, the codeOf life rehearsing steps: I crawl, I dart,I play, on hearing minor keys, I cry.And one day soon, too soon, the losses came,The maiming, voiding kind, and pitches high,Too high for you to hear, and tears like rain.And all I wanted then were major keys,A shallow life, emotions in deep freeze.