The Little Picture

We’ve already skipped

the first step, wherever
we start. Besides, the

spoon never tastes the
soup anyway. Sure,

there’s meaning in a
jet way up, but down
in the ditch the air

is sliced other ways.
The ones today

who kill or love
are history already
from the air, from

the future. Yes,
life’s unreason

-ing and -able. Ir-
rational even, in
the ditches. It’s

because always
already we’ve

skipped the first
step, headed into
the clouds and

miss the mud. It’s
because the spoon

will never taste
the soup, and you,
and you, and me

and I never look
at the little picture.

The Soul Goes for Cigarettes

The soul leaves you
more often than death—
several times more often

it leaves you alone—
leaves out of boredom,
leaves out of tedium too,

out of blaring busyness.
It says, “see ya,” and
it does—looks you in

the eye and checks out,
leaving thoughtless,
thoughtless you to ponder

why you’re asleep, why
so tedious to beauty. And
every day you’re lovers

you know there comes
the time you’ll hear, “I’m
only going for cigarettes.”

And you know
you will know
it’s not like that.

The Realm of Hungry Ghosts

(Ferguson, Missouri, August 2014)

The measured response of empire
is death—war against war;
attack against attack; violence
to violence. Murder. Revenge.
Death. The measured response of

empire is insanity. The peace of
empire is reloading the gun. It
is the realm of hungry ghosts,
shiny new helmets in the void.

In this other land, it’s borders
beaten back in endless war,
here everyone is learning to be
human. We have learned here
that hope and certitude have
never met. Never will. Hope
won’t bargain with terrorists.

Everybody here is learning how
to be human. It’s a slow go for
a rainy day. A lull in the killing.

The measured response
of being human first is anger.
Then the defeat of certitude.

In the realm of hungry empire
certitude is a press conference;
peace is reloading the gun.
Being human is the starved thing.