mapping out the here and now

blood on the sheets
and you laugh

blood on the walls

the daughter
in the mother’s arms and
both of them dead

the boyfriend picked up
800 miles away

says he loves her but
can’t explain the gun

can’t explain the rope
around gorky’s neck or the
poet’s need to pick at
these open wounds

the ay the buildings burn
without reason

the cities where they
begin to dissolve
into suburbs and strip malls

your smile in
the weak sunlight of an
august afternoon

the way you taste

all of these things
held together by the
sheer force of anger


each day like filth
scraped from the eye of god

each moment pure

and i offer no explanations
when i tell you that
both are true

i eat dinner while paul hill
is put to death

i have seconds

and how is it that
in all the years i wasted in school
i never learned about
the babi yar ravine?

in whose blood are the names
of all the slaughtered

picture the world reduced
to those who would invent the machine gun
and those who would use it

picture mercy as
being allowed to die before
your daughters are raped

remember that malevich had his reasons
for painting white on white

remember that pollock knew them

that he dreamed his own death

and does anyone care when a
pedophile priest is murdered?

is the world a better place when
his bones have been
picked clean by the crows?

it gets to the point where
every question is only a means
of avoiding the truth

where august becomes september
and none of us
can offer any comfort

and what i think about is
this waitress on her knees in a
dirty bathroom with her
pants undone and a stranger
standing over her

what i think about is
how good hatred feels

all of the ways it can be
turned into power

vallejo, with apologies

at some point
america is supported by
nothing but the bones of
goebbels’ children

at some point
the starving have nothing to eat
but each other

and august of course
dissolves into september
and a seven year-old boy is hit
by a car while playing in the street
in front of my house

and what if no one
knows where he lives?

what if dali wakes up in a
room on fire?

at some point
there has to be a distinction between
reality and art

a woman’s eyeball sliced open
or a baby found dead in
a plastic bag on a street corner

my son drawing airplanes
at the dining room table

his smile
when i tell him a joke

all of the days i’ve wasted
waiting for
the future to arrive

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