Poetry: Racing to Our Futures

It’s back

The racing

The running

The stumbling

The can I do this

The will I make it

The one more mile

Counting down the days

Until a break

 

Ah.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Calm?

Good…because

Ready

Set

Go

Again

 

Faster now

More obstacles to dodge

(Will you make it?)

How fast are your reflexes?

How strong are your muscles?

Can you do this?

Push yourself harder

Less sleep

More running

I. Can. Do. This.

(Where am I even going?)

 

All the while

Screamed at by sideline coaches

And jeered at by crowds

Telling you Run Faster

Dig Deeper

(Don’t they see there’s nothing left?)

 

And runners sprint past you

While others collapse

Suddenly still in a flood of movement

The winners and the losers

In front and behind

 

And there’s nothing left to do

But keep running

Because this is a race

Even if you didn’t know that

When you started

Poetry: Do Other People

Do other people

Not understand

The pain they can inflict with a simple sentence—

Maybe just a few words strung together

Nonchalantly

Not hesitantly

No evil or cruel intent

Just good ol’ fashion cluelessness

To human nature

 

Do other people

Not carry these sentences with them?

Like twisted trinkets

Like demented luggage

Like echoes as they try to fall asleep?

 

Do other people

Not realize

The effect that words can have?

Do other people

Not wake up in predawn darkness

Haunted by slipups and embarrassments and even things that weren’t even

That bad

To start with?

 

I guess they must not

Or they would choose their words better.

Poetry: A Moment of Silence

 

Let us bow our heads

For a moment of silence

 

Silence

That transcends religion

Location

Language and identity

 

Silence

Because there are no words

Strong enough to bear the burden

Of expressing grief like this

 

Silence

After the noise

After the screams and the shouts and the terror

Silence

As if we can say this is over

 

But what comes after

The moment of silence

How are we supposed to react?

How do we move on

When the night has not ended for so many

Across the world?

 

May we return to our lives?

May we find joy in

The simple things that brought smiles to our faces

Yesterday?

May we smile and laugh

After this moment of silence?

 

We are silent and we grieve

But at the same time

We cannot stop

From fear or from sorrow—

If we do not return to living

Then Respect is not the winner

But yet another victim

 

Let us bow our heads

For a moment of silence

And let us never live our lives so loudly

That we forget the reason for that moment

But neither let us gag ourselves

Against the joys of life

With bindings of guilt

 

A moment of silence

And then the clamor of life again

So that the world can heal.

Poetry: Cursing at Jaywalkers

Three girls, sitting on a bench

Cursing at jaywalkers

 

Don’t they see

The danger

That could come roaring

Out of the small-town darkness?

 

Why do they risk it?

Don’t they know that

Bad things happen?

Even here.

Even to the best of us.

Even to the strongest of us, the bravest of us.

 

They are asking for the pain

The three girls already feel

And the insult is too much

To watch silently

Poetry: In Which I Don’t Care What You Would Have Done

Why do we think

We can quantify pain

Or suffering?

 

Who do we think we are

To decide how anyone else—

Other than ourselves—

Should react to the horrors we experience?

Before, during, or after—

(All three, places your opinion is irrelevant.)

 

How dare we reduce trauma

To a checklist of symptoms?

As if what You Would Have Done

Means anything to someone else.

 

Why do victims have to fight

Just to wear the cursed name?

 

Why then does the label

“Victim”

So easily become

A badge of dishonor:

Stolen from the perpetrator

And forcibly attached

To their victim?

 

As if they haven’t suffered enough already.

Poetry: A Blood-Soaked Pebble

It was a notification on my phone

Waiting for me

When I randomly glanced down

At the end of fifth period.

And I went to sixth period

Just like that

 

Not a blip, a stutter, a collective pause

No announcement of their deaths—

The day goes on

A current rushing too quickly

To be affected

By a blood-soaked pebble

 

Then come the speeches

And the wrung hands

The quiet, removed grief

Of a populace

Too accustomed to these

Moments of Silence

 

Quiet voices

Crash into each other—

Rising—

Sizzling with anger—

A thunder storm of butting heads—

And that becomes the story

Life or Liberty

(The latter does you no good

If you’re dead)

 

And you know the worst part?

There is no need

To write a date on this poem.


My sincerest thoughts and sympathies go out to the Roseburg community. There aren’t words for the horrors that they and so many other towns have to endure.

Poetry: Never a Fair Fight

Man versus nature?
It’s not even a contest
This isn’t a chess game
It’s a boxing match
Every time we throw a punch
The earth throws it back
Tenfold.
So-called solutions only create
More problems
Trying to simplify our lives
We turned them into minefields.

The extremes only get more extreme.

The only way to win this fight
Is to stop trying
Maybe Mother Nature wins this round
Maybe our manifest destiny
Doesn’t have to extend
So far
As to conquer the world.
Not while we’re trying to live
On the battleground.