Our sad silence

Outrage, decline. My fury boils over
the failures of people I trusted to do the simple things
they claimed they were programmed to do.
Then I realize: they lie, are lied to, and become silent.
Sad days in Detroit watching the empty Renaissance towers.
Sadder watching empty offices
In my hallways, unfilled
With people who no longer care to work.
I wonder if this is the unseasoning of Kapital in my locos.
I wonder if this is general dismay and macroeconomic
quietude. I wonder if we have retreated into quiet conscious silence, deafness,
and mute acceptance of an order that we know is wrong
and dysfunctional on 1000 plateaus, most of which we see.
I also know that what I feel is dysfunctional; I sense
The emotional ripple of saying so
To a pond of silence.

-Joe Cronin


Call to Arms

An idea needed defended
So young men and women died
Communism, Islam, Democracy were silent
But plenty of families cried.

An idea needed saving
So countless lives we give
Economics, Religion, Politics are more important
Than the lives we have to live.

To kill for one’s ideas is wrong.
To kill and die for another’s, insane.
Communism, Islam, Democracy—
Nothing more than names.


-Wes Bishop

Of Peace, I Think in Poems and Stories

Of peace, I think in poems and stories,
the images framed in words to color in the spaces.
Hot Oklahoma days, I sat outside drawing peace signs
with thick rainbows of chalk on the concrete driveway
outside what my parents called Our First New House,
an echoing brick with a courtyard and bare plaster
because my father didn’t want holes in the walls.

At three o’clock, my mother would come outside
and make me wash off the peace signs
so my father wouldn’t yell when he got home from work,
his regulation-blue Air Force shirt unwrinkled,
like my mother had just ironed it in her Sunday routine,
his shiny black shoes unsmudged, midnight mirrors,
the bars and stars and leaves and pins on his shirt aligned. Continue reading →

Círculo de Paz (Circle of Peace)

© 10/1/12 Carlos Raúl Dufflar
El poeta quiere a la vida
como un canto a nosotros
vida las palabras que suben
como estrellas en la montaña
sin silencio
poemas para paz
poemas para amor
poemas para justicia
poemas para papaya bien
con una sonrisa
en medio de la carretera
una gota de sangre estenta
a la alma de inocente
el Barrio de Harlem Sur de Bronx
en Sures y Bushwick Y Queensbridge Continue reading →

Sophrosyne: Or the Unpopular Art of Prudent Thought

Of this we can be sure:

We can never know the private doings and deepest burdens of our fellow beings.
Therefore, one should keep from judging anyone for fear of weighing unfairly.
I am truly grateful when others refrain from rashly judging me or you,
Whereas I find myself annoyed when, instead, they blithely rant ahead.

Trust is the sweetest tie that pairs or groups can share.
Once gained it is the most painful thing to lose,
And once gone the hardest thing to regain.
Alive, trust cushions the shocks and smooths the trials of life.
A blessing if you have some to give since not much is valued more.

True, he who trusts too easily may be taken for a fool,
But the first to condemn is oft revealed the true ass in the end.
Those who evade these two extremes remain worthy of esteem:
For mad it is to swear upon what cannot be known,
Or to regard one’s fancies as more certain than the truth.
-Jim Malarkey
with gratitude to Aurelieus, Cicero, and Seneca

2 Poems by Larry Smith

The Water and the Wave

I wake inside the day,
breaking my shell of sleep
into conscious light—
Like a wave my mind
runs forward on itself
conceiving my script as
separate from myself…
ego crying to be
dressed and fed.
My eyes close again—
and I feel the wonder
of being just the water.
Harbored in the all
I do not seek to rise
and be apart from
this oneness, and yet…
Sunlight falls through curtains,
a bird calls my name,
my face outside the mirror
the struggle that is life—
being both water and the wave.


A Moment of Silence

What if the speaker had said,
“Now, let us take 10 minutes of silence”?
How would the crowd have felt
passing through the anxious seconds
into whole minutes of sweet stillness,
sitting or standing, hands folding,
eyes perhaps closing, as when
an orchestra begins to play?
Not silence but stillness,
taking in all, breathing it out
again and again, slowly
like horses in a meadow.
I once saw Allen Ginsberg at NYU
turn a crowd of 500 into meditators
drinking in the quiet shared,
touching the calm within ourselves
moving the moments into hours.