I wrote all of these. They're all fictional for the most part.
Marching in Burma
Should have spoke out when the hammer went down.
And when the law was read that voices be bled,
Because killing the protesters was next to come.
Should have spoke up when the land was owned,
And the poor were forced to flee their homes.
Those peons anyway,
Loitering in the way.
Should have dissented when our rights were blown,
But it was too late now,
Fascism had grown.
Should have spoke out again,
When the monks were marching,
But I was a coward and hid in the shadows.
And they tortured our brothers for drawing a line.
I had to watch from afar.
I should have fought for dear life
When it all came down,
I should have killed them all
For their loathsome power over us.
When the shots rang out over roaring crowds.
I should have followed my son
Who gave it all and stood his ground.
I should have cut out their guts
And smashed their little brains,
When they hung my son.
Those red-eyed ruthless generals,
Right in the center of a city street.
Should have fought for dear life
And done my part to tear out their hearts.
I should have yelled out and cut out their guts.
I should have done it all to them,
When my son was hung.
Looks Like Doom
Riding back on the helicopter really scares me.
Not because I’m aloft in a heavy, steel machine
That can’t fly a lick if the engines fail,
Not at all.
What scare me are the countless forest fires I see.
I’m not afraid of getting burned.
It looks like a world
In the throws of a smoldering and burning apocalypse.
The last days of existence
With the orange glow of a circular sun
Trying to shine through a choking haze.
The imposing columns of smoke have risen above the helicopter.
They’re gigantic and take up most of my view
And are still being fed
By the burning of trees and plants down below.
This can’t be natural.
It’s not the way it’s supposed to be.
I hardly avert my eyes from the window
Except to look at my dogs
Sound asleep at my feet.
The dogs and I wear earplugs.
Despite the thumping of the rotor blades
And the scream of the engine
They doze like babies.
I’m afraid these fires were never meant to be.
A reflection of the hand of modern man.
The fires are only the beginning of the true scorching,
Of what is yet to come,
The exhumation of the Earth’s surface.
That’s what I’m afraid might be happening.
The sky is so filled with smoke
That it looks like we are flying through a perpetual cloud,
Not quite so dense enough so I can’t see.
It’s like a white veil surrounding the whole world.
And the sun in its orbit appears perfectly round,
A circular sphere glowing,
Trying to shed light on the charred remains of the planet.
I see images like battlefields
In a bombed and obliterated landscape.
It looks like doom,
And this frightens the hell out of me.
But then the fires end abruptly
Like there is an invisible line they can’t cross,
Like we’ve made a deal with the natural forces,
Or the unnatural forces if you like.
Except for the hazy sky,
All looks again like it should be.
There is mile after mile of taiga forest,
And views of rivers and creeks
Threading across the forest in a serpentine pattern.
The land I’ve always imagined.
The way it is supposed to be.
What Could Have Been
I had a grim recurring dream.
I’m stuck with no future
In the grips of urbanity and industry
In the center of some huge city -
Feels like Detroit.
I have no education,
Not enough to matter anyway in a tanked economy.
Most people struggle bitterly to get by.
There are many people who become my half-friends.
But without nature it’s really hard to connect with anyone.
How can you when you worry about your future so much,
A slave to industry.
There’s always some little boss you fear a little,
Hovering over you like a buzzard,
Waiting for you to screw up and die.
You don’t want to lose your job when times are hard,
But you hate it almost enough not to care.
I worked six days a week in a dreaded, noisy factory,
For seven dollars an hour.
There was a woman in my dream,
But I didn’t have the energy to pursue her,
Since I was depressed about having a dismal future.
Even with this job I would never have much.
No house, no time off, and no real life.
Just a few half-friends I would never really get to know.
Acquaintances who kept some distance.
And all of us together didn’t have a clue on how to revolt,
Or change the system.
It was completely an industrial, soot-filled world,
And the closest thing we knew about nature
Was some cruddy city gutters.
We had never been in nature so we didn’t know
What the world was supposed to be like.
We became like clones,
Automated in our actions
Because our minds had been dulled
By the droned-out world of a smoky and overpopulated city.
An overpopulated world.
I remember having lunch with my half-friends.
We were in a busy hall,
With no windows,
But one wall missing so the gray, grungy light could seep in.
All the workers were sitting and eating
At splintered wooden tables.
I couldn’t enjoy the food and company.
Eating with other people should always feel like a celebration.
But I had to go to work in an hour
And I was dreading the beginning of a ten-hour shift.
I hated the factory.
It was big, dark, and clunky,
Full of man-made machines with large steel wheels and cogs.
The woman I could see across the table
Had long brown, straight hair,
And a smooth, well proportioned face – a real beauty.
She was out of my reach,
Because I had no future in the world,
None that contained happiness anyway.
So I had no drive.
In my dream I didn’t even know about nature,
Or wild refuges.
I’m not sure if they existed anymore.
They might have been a thing of the past,
Centuries before when the sky was bright and blue.
I think of that woman mostly,
And what could have been.
Vacant, Defeated Eyes
Living is a little dangerous.
You don’t’ know what to expect.
Though isn’t that the point of a life.
Copying convention, whatever that means,
Is much easier.
It’s what everyone does and expects.
But you become dull and drab
Like a dark gray room.
You turn sulky and depressed,
And become a shadow of yourself;
Of what you want to be.
Why feel the need to work so hard
At something so insignificant,
Like a preacher, an accountant,
A businessman for chrissakes?
I only like hiking and writing now,
Playing with my dogs,
And coffee and cheap red wine.
Everything else would just be
Following ill-willed normality
That just makes you old and angry looking,
With crinkled brows, a droopy chin,
A pudgy belly with legs way too thin,
And vacant, defeated eyes that say,
What am I doing with my life?
You get all this from following
The recent American standard
Of work and work with little to show,
And tons of unhappiness and regret,
There’s nothing like a monsoon rain,
Warm and thick like rope,
Plastering your shirt to your skin.
There’s nothing to do but march forward,
Pitifully and stubbornly,
As if doing something will make it stop.
Nothing to do but hope it will end.
It always does eventually.
The red ape sits it through,
Out on a limb,
Without moving an inch,
Head tilted down
With water rolling off his matted fur-
Stringy, red hair-like fur`-
In clear beads.
Most animals don’t move.
Only the restless human,
Unable to still his mind,
Dull witted and antsy,
Always here, always there,
For no apparent reason.
Got to be on the go
Even in the middle of Borneo,
In an unbroken forest,
In a timeless land,
With a monsoon rain beating you down.
Instead of following your heart.
To Recapture Something Lost
I dreamed about a friend last night,
The dog I had a few years ago,
And his preciousness fading from my memory,
Bit by bit ever so gradually,
But as sure as the wind that blows across my face in the chill of this place.
And of a woman I used to know,
And her priceless affection and doting over me
Erased absolutely like it had never been,
Like she had never felt anything for me,
Leaving me baffled and left out in the cold of the world.
And both of them replaced with the here and now;
The brutal reality of this half-hearted journey
To recapture something lost.
My boss never knew I was homeless.
How could he
When I arrived on time every day.
Told him I lived with friends.
But I didn’t have any,
Just booze and the stars at night.
The grim wage he paid wouldn’t pay rent.
I saved it so I could quit one day.
I bought wine on the way to my tent
After being a slave for the day,
Cleaning carpets in ritzy mansions.
I was lucky to have a car that ran,
To drive to the woods for the night
To drink in my car
While staring into the darkness,
Thinking, about the future,
Pondering, the life I had.
Without rent or a home
I could save some money
And buy gas to get to my deadening job.
I could drive by people
And pretend I was normal,
Scurrying and sulking.
I could act like I was coming from a house,
And no one would know I was living in my car.
They wouldn’t suspect that I was an outcast.
They wouldn’t roll their eyes in disgust
And think that I was homeless.
There’s a pestilential storm
Rising up in the ranks of humanity.
Xenophobic men who don’t know how to stand;
Fear and bigotry make them shout out
As they point their stubby fingers
And spurt their demonic lies –
The ones they believe –
They’re out to get us.
They’re taking our country.
Those weak men are misguided.
They’ve become devils to themselves
And con men to all.
They never had dreams,
Only slinked away when the rain came
And the pain set in.
And the great, passive men
Didn’t flinch or give an inch.
And wrapped the quagmire
The devilish men had strewn about,
And then eviscerated them from the fold.
Spiraling blue skies and dizzying mountains,
Fathomless seas and towering dunes,
River wind brushing our face,
Roving lost among cathedrals of trees,
The meager ideals we carry ruthlessly along,
Treasures of old,
And the visions of our youth.
It’s not a trade off,
But a new embrace.
I’d slide them aside
For a straight shot through
To a real sweet beauty,
Tender and divine,
And the lingering feeling
Of staring into her eyes.
You have fire in your eyes,
Ablaze and etched on the world
Raising the indigent from the waves,
A real fine soul,
A must be loser,
A giver of bread to scraggly men.
You gave the honey back to the bees,
Exposed kings as arrogant thieves
While lifting beggars to new heights.
You became a simple-minded bum,
A top-notch hoodlum,
A humble, strong man,
Who set the kingdom afire
Before their shifty, shady eyes.
You look so plain,
But your hands are like steel,
Tight-gripped and smooth,
And with an unbreakable iron heart
That can’t be stopped.
You’re a hobo, you’re a weed,
You want to be nothing.
But there is fire in your eyes,
And serenity on your mind,
And you have the look of a fine tramp,
But intent on releasing the caged.
The masters never knew about you,
Nor that revolutions are won by the meek,
Driven by what is right
And their insurmountable dreams.
I was heading out again
Across the land
Into the vital organs of the world,
Like a drifter upon the waves,
Like a romantic adventurer of yesteryear,
To make an appearance upon the earth,
To witness dark starry nights on a desert plain,
To march all day on a dry, pine ridge,
To smell leaves falling in the autumn breeze,
And feel the allure of the open, dusty road.
I hated a home that was really a big box house,
Instead I traded it in for hard, calloused feet,
A tarp for a roof,
Dirt for a bed,
And any hapless vagrant who made my stead.
I wake up sometimes at night
In a cold sweat,
Remembering the long shady road leading home,
I’ve been away for many years,
Pulled along by the romantic dreams of my youth.
I never thought I would be gone for so many years.
I remember my departure like it was yesterday,
Walking down the road from home,
Not knowing I would be gone so long.
I saw you perching on an oak branch when I was young
Pulling up worms in the soggy winter fields.
You had steadiness in your eye.
You worked undeterred,
And the dreary rain did not dampen your mood.
I knew your voice so well
But never absorbed the chill it sent.
I headed north during darker times,
Traveling the land with the memories tucked away,
Discovering eagles and bears,
Eating cloud berries and rose hips,
And witnessing the salmon coming to spawn.
So many seasons whistled by,
Like a flash,
Then again it was autumn.
The orange leaves began to fall to the ground.
I stepped out my cabin door,
Breathed deeply, and looked to the sky.
I gathered my things that same day
And said a lasting good bye.
From then on I took my time in life.
When I reached the forested inlets and islands
I heard your voice again
That reopened a furrow in my mind.
Oh brown-chest bird, you journey so far.
Your call made me think of that long ago time.
When I returned home everyone was gone.
And I was lost and alone, but you gave me comfort.
Oh, robin, oh robin, you sing so well,
And lack the pity of self that humans so dwell.
When I saw you again working in the dismal rain,
Picking and yanking your meager meal,
I knew that you would be just fine.
Bold robin, oh you showed me, that rain does not kill,
Or sadden those who must trod up hill,
But makes one grateful of the ability
To feel small pains and pleasures,
To think calmly, while worlds whirl and collide.
So then I settled again into a place I once knew,
Cool and healthy like a bird plucking the earth.
I visited you on that oak branch one day,
Like long ago, you again chanting your song
As if the world was growing bigger and brighter with each passing note,
You appearing unconcerned about its heartfelt effect;
On my life, my adversity, then coming home
Or of its hope for the disillusioned
And of great strength that still dwells in us all.
With sand dunes like mountains
And camels lumbering across the barrens
As living desert ships, breathing and bellowing.
Sustaining us, keeping us alive.
Leading us to water, giving us milk, carrying our burdens.
I walked barefoot with the wandering Bedouin.
Thirsty and sun baked like clay,
My legs felt like tired heavy barrels.
The land boiled under the torched rays.
Battered, baked, and alive,
I slept oblivious to the bitter cold nights.
The camels huddled together for warmth
And disregarded any form of hardship
That we encountered in the
The camels did not cry, moan or turn back.
Never did they stumble, falter, nor fail to find the trail.
A week without water and they still persevered,
Undeterred and without sympathy for themselves.
In blinding sandstorms,
They simply shut their eyes and remained kneeled.
With no food, they fasted and walked on quietly and calmly.
On they went because there was no other way,
Until finally we all found refuge
In an oasis of beautiful green grass and water.
Giant Colony of Bats
There was a colony of bats
Emerging from a massive cavern,
Like an enormous, gyrating, living vapor,
Twirling around and around near the entrance,
Sputtering and waiting for darkness to fall.
Then suddenly long thick rows of individuals
Started peeling off
To fly away into the night to feed
On newly hatched insects
That were fluttering and rising
Over the forests
Into the warm summer sky.
He remained still for some time,
Nostrils flared into the breeze.
Watching, but not moving at all,
Not knowing if his cover was blown.
His body was ready to bolt to escape my presence.
I stood still too,
Wanting to marvel at his size a bit longer.
He was as large as a horse,
With antlers reaching well down his brown back.
I tried to hold my breath,
Hoping for him to just begin walking again.
But the Elk was a statue,
And enormous, old, and wise.
I felt like a rude intruder disturbing a friend,
I wanted to slink away without bothering the huge bull.
In the seconds that passed
My scent had been sent to him on the breeze,
Through the brush, crashing and charging with power,
His head held way back to get his antlers through.
And then the crashing and thunder was gone.
You dreamed like a giant,
Even when you sank so low.
Still you clung tight to your fervor, and your fire.
Just as the wings of an arctic tern can carry so far,
How light spans across a tropical dawn,
How verdant forests seem so hallow,
And the primeval glow of the constellations.
They stir the earth, like the ideals in your bones.
Your twinkle, your spark, and intuitive mind,
And your compassionate heart.
They captured me eons ago
In a metaphysical realm before I was born.
I was dreaming even then
Of the infinite possibilities of a beautiful life,
And about the end to a long hard journey
That reached a woman with fervor and fire.
The fish swim up-river in the thick heavy darkness,
Agile and savvy to the rapids and deep pools.
They have impressive power and an iron will,
And are determined to reach the place of their birth.
We motor up river, with a droning thump-thump
Plastering the silent blackness ludicrously.
In our dilapidated metal boat,
And become dizzy and confused of our place in the world.
With our dim silly lights shining,
We scan haphazardly in all directions
For some sort of sign that we are on the right track.
But we lose our way so easily.
We are knuckleheads out of our element.
We are out of touch with wild things and wild places.
The Chinook salmon, born of this world
And free of ill-content,
Have traveled the earth and back.
They are mysteriously and confidently masters
Of the river and the ocean.
In their blood and scales pulses the beat of the planet.
They intuitively know right where they are going,
And will stop at nothing to get there.
After a journey of years and thousands of miles
With the odds of them surviving to old age slim,
They have made it and are coming on in
And up the fresh flowing water one last time
To spawn, lay down on their sides, breathe a few final breaths, and die.
They are returning home.