Cosmic Indifference and Crisis of Meh

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Photo by Tomas Sobek on Unsplash

Cosmic Indifference and Crisis of Meh

One day
the sun
will rise
alone,

radiating light
on not a single tree
nor even a blade of grass,
warming a barren earth for no reptile,
nor bird,

nor even a single bipedal mammal
to bend a knee
in humble worship of Ra’s
once life-bringing magnitudes.

I won’t try to tell you how to feel about that
nor will I implore you to stand up and
do something to slow the inevitability,
for even if we collaborate to stem the tide,
it will happen inevitably.

One day the sun will rise alone,
scorching an already sterilized planet,
eradicating every gaudy man-made
monument to ourselves, and we
just may knowingly accelerate
this unavoidable fate
exponentially.

I won’t tell you to save a world that is
well beyond our combined will to save,

for it seems like hubris to even
entertain the notion of saving a world
from the cosmic nature of its
unavoidable demise;

saving our planet, to me, sounds
as ludicrous as saving our lonely sun
from burning though its
finite supply of hydrogen,
and then its helium,
collapsing into a
cooling carbon cinder
of its once majestic brilliance.

But why won’t you think of saving the sun?
We’re wasting its resources, you know.

Why not warm your house with clean coal
and save some of those precious
hydrogen-fused released photons?

I won’t ask you to do that
because that would be utterly ridiculous
and just speed things along and
I greatly prefer slowing things
as much as those
sensible conservationists,

though I won’t ask you to recycle either,
even though it would be rather kind of you
to join me in doing so.

I won’t tell you
to protest Big Oil
and petroleum products

because the cabinet full of pharmaceuticals
extending my lifespan, health and comfort
would compel me to mock my own hypocrisy.

But our planet is dying and
one day the sun will rise alone.

That was always going to be the case,
though we are helping to speed the process
significantly, and with cosmic indifference
bordering perverse zeal.

I won’t sit here and tell you to
get up and go do something about it.

But do get up
and go do something
for me; stand up

and take inventory
of the beauty and wonders
we’ve all taken for granted
from time to time.

If you’re fortunate enough
to experience the ongoing miracle
of waking tomorrow,

go stand outside and listen
to morning wipe the sleep from her eyes,
unfolding her wings, singing all around you.

If luck favors you with a summer rain shower,
let it soak you to your pores
and breathe deeply,
inhaling her perfume.

Observe regal, billowing,
wispy clouds march overhead
towards the horizon,
dissolving from view,
but still existing in both
mystery and memory.

I’m willing to wager that what you see
may cause you to gasp as you tenuously
grasp at your own insignificance,

and maybe, just maybe,
you may find yourself compelled
to preserve some of these moments
a few moments longer.

It’s not much;
perhaps even too insignificant
to make a sliver of a blip
of a microbe of a difference.

But one day the sun will rise alone.
What will you do until then?
***

Written for dVerse Poetics: On Climate Crisis, hosted by anmol(alias HA). Read other poets’ prompt contributions here.

Where the Rocks Kiss the Sea and the Waves Embrace All

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Photo by Hugo Kemmel on Unsplash

Where the Rocks Kiss the Sea and Calm Waves Embrace All

Standing on rocky midnight shore, the sound of the Sound beckoned his return to where he began decades ago; his wish, to bookend his life where ancient kinship first drew breath.

He intended to breathe saltwater and snuff-out all that rotten progress.

He’d just wade into the frigid current until the chill melted into warmth, freeing him of the dread of empathy among the specter of cosmic apathy.

Inhaling brine should sever the unending sinewave bouncing between two extremes.

Knee-deep within numbing, moonlit, black-reflected muck, the cold needles through, forcing his breath shallow. Waist-deep, and the current beckons him forward to rejoin infinity and nothingness.

He begins surrendering to uncompromising fate he’s chosen when far away an interrupted cry of a drowning woman breaks him from indulgence. He summons reserve to drag her back to the rocks.

“You’re welcome,” smiled the mermaid he “saved”.
***

Written for dVerse Prosery #1, hosted by Björn Rudberg (brudberg). Others have contributed to this prompt here.

Day 28: She is Born

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

She is Born

She is born as all are; from their pain.

Their pain is born from fissures
in a ruptured union, leaking black bile,
becoming tidepools of resentment
under moonless night of regret.

Intensity of emotion
has brought her into this world
blind and formless.

After the begging had ceased,
after the demands rose,
floating away as all hot-air does,
after the tears dried and crusted
in corners, after goodbyes
scattered wounded elements
the way all stars fall,

a series of electro-chemical sparks
ignite her coalescence into
nebulous idea,

as hurt, shame, and love commiserate
with introspection, perspective,
and empathy; her formlessness
is shaped into a proto-philosophy,
the light splitting her darkness
is an empty notebook, opening.

Her energy not lost, but transferred
as all pain is, she reclaims herself
after a lost cause, opening, pouring
her dark tidepools onto pages, her bile
shaped into words they wanted to say,

but were too prideful, too shameful,
too fearful to voice to one another
when it may have brought them closer
to joy; their Shakespearian tragic timing
cooling, on paper, appropriately,
into a poem which begins as:

“She is born as all are; from their pain.”
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 28 prompt: write a meta-poem, or a poem about poetry.

Day 21: Dismantling a Mercedes

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Photo by Luca Santos on Unsplash

Dismantling a Mercedes

She was beautiful,
long before learning
a self-butcher’s trade.

Long before swinging
lifelessly
from a tree in a park

– her final act completed publicly
after countless private attempts – her end

was pre-assisted
by the animal kingdom.

Nature was a
giant killer hornet colony
nesting in her head.

Nurture was meat
for a Komodo dragon
ignored by farmhands.

She was banished from
purgatory paradise
by serpent-creator.

The meat became her own
expert butcher, carving
fortune from flesh.

A successful vendor,
despite the killer hornets
devouring their share.

But she dared to be
discerning in company of
lurking painted wolves.

Scavengers and hunters
combined to consume her
to the marrow, leaving only
her final act of defiance,

her final words to
the animal kingdom,
a day before her final act;

“Fuck y’all”.

There is no solace
in burying the bruises,
as only the living bruise.

She ended her pain
alone in a park
by focusing its sum
upon her kissable neck,

compressing the noose;
a temporary evisceration
for a lasting peace

that eluded her infested skull in life.

Perhaps not the beautiful ending
a beautiful butcher like her deserves,
but an ending all the same.
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 21 prompt: write a poem that “incorporates wild, surreal images. Try to play around with writing that doesn’t make formal sense, but which engages all the senses and involves dream-logic.”

I interpret that as “go nuts with abstractions and strange metaphors”, and so I did my best with this tragic tale.

Day 16: Poetry as Visible Steam

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Photo by Maria Teneva on Unsplash

Poetry as Visible Steam

That iconic church
catching fire
is not upsetting.

Firebombing
less-iconic black churches
is not upsetting.

Random hate crimes
against minorities
is not upsetting.

A murder of another
based on who they choose to love
is not upsetting.

Having a government leader
with no empathy, no tact,
no impulse control, no shame,
no fundamental grasp of science,
not even the service of
an official proofreader
or spellchecker
is not upsetting.

Passing the tipping-point
of human-aided
catastrophic climate change
with a collective shrug
and a doubling-down
of business-as-usual
is not upsetting.

What is upsetting
is the growing numbness
incinerating our
collective superstructure.

What is upsetting
is realizing that faith in humanity
was firebombed decades
before observation,
like a lobster having no idea
they’re slowly being
boiled alive
until there’s steam.

What is upsetting
is our growing detachment
from the humane.

What is upsetting
is catching yourself wondering
what the victim did to provoke
such violent hatred
before remembering
that all they did was
have the audacity
to exist.

What is upsetting
is that a hilariously-terrifying,
poisonous, treasonous,
wood-rot-brained,
dementia-demigod
is executing the will
of a percentage of people
I call neighbor.

What is upsetting is receiving
such an oppressive influx
of terrible things,
that the nervous system
reflexively shuts down
to protect itself.

What is upsetting is knowing that,
even after adjusting cosmic perspective,
knowing that no one is coming
to save you from yourselves,
compelling you to root for the
sweet, sweet probability of a
random extinction meteor.

What is upsetting
is slowly realizing that
nothing is upsetting anymore.

Not even when the steam is visible.
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 16 prompt: “write a poem that uses the form of a list to defamiliarize the mundane.” Again, I took license and adjusted the scale, as I’m running dry on mundane topics and I’m a bit sleep-deprived and grumpy.

Also written for Real Toads’ day 16 prompt: “poetry as an insurgent art”.

Day 10: Make This Work

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Photo by Zetong Li on Unsplash

Make This Work

Once content with affixing my fate to another’s will,
blissfully ignorant of the destination, gleefully
glib along the journey, suddenly I found myself
cruising along the gash of rainforest between

the Olympics and the Cascades, within a sea of green
and grey and greying, as if awakening from a dream
a persistent, insidious dream born from the mind
of another person, incapable of acting upon it.

We sped by the soggy world on a grey asphalt ribbon
as I became aware of the world spinning right past me

I didn’t choose to be here – not directly, anyway –
but I cheated death in relentless pursuit of someone
else’s dream destination; I’d forfeited my own path.

I was stranger to myself; ignorant of my own power.

There’s a saying around here; if you don’t like the weather,
wait five minutes, and then kill yourself. It was meant to be
darkly amusing, but after waking to my wasting of
my twenties, nestled within unending wet wintery darkness

of the United States’ armpit, waiting to die, the humor
was long lost on me, leading to a glacial resolution

Gradually, one resolute, measured drip at a time,
I began waking, slowly thawing my dreamy ice-prison,
taking full measure, exerting my will upon my own fate

The sunset pierced the clouds to the west,
bathing the left side of my face in warmth,
producing a double-rainbow to the east
as rain continued to pelt our shuttle.

Mamma told me when I was a child
that sunshowers meant that the Devil
was fighting with his wife. That visual
filled me with fear, but I dismissed it
as I got older. Now I’m not so sure.

“I already love it here!” my wife said,
beaming ear-to-ear. I remained silent.

“I love the rain! Isn’t it amazing?”

“No,” I said, “it’s not. But give me some time
to adjust. I think I can make this work for me.”
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 10 prompt: write a poem that starts from a regional phrase describing a weather phenomenon. I took some license with this one. I didn’t start the poem with the phrase, but I included two of them in my poem, so hopefully that makes up for my deviation.

Day 7: Of Nothing and Everything

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Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Of Nothing and Everything

I.
We are born with no expectations
needs are another matter
connections are made and broken
attachment chains us to fallacy
nostalgia affixes our affections
regret is an illusory gift

II.
I knew you had another
saw you kiss him, looked away
saw through your lazy lies
embraced an empty peach pit
knowing that I deserved it
and perhaps, even less

III.
Told you I’d walk my “friend” home
you saw us flirting, looked away
ignored my brittle excuse
you waited in our empty bed
as I fumbled her darkness for light
leveraging for fullness

IV.
Briefly escaping her fiancé’s warmth
she incinerated herself upon a stranger
telling herself it doesn’t count
thighs crush demands for clarity
trading vows on embers of virtue
fading blissfully into warm sunset

V.
No one deserves anything
ready yourself to release infinity
embrace, learn our broken landscape
most hymns sung are incomplete
from revival to wake; no joy without sorrow
we own nothing, for we are everything
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 7 prompt: write a poem of gifts and joy. At first glance, my poem may appear to be a subversion of the prompt, but that wasn’t my intent.

Day 6: Resting Near the River

Resting Near the River

What if Hades’ waiting room
were a McDonald’s
at 9:30am
on a weekday?

With white collar and working class
having already reported to work,

leaving only retirees
regrouping transients
and the unhurried condemned,

resigned to inevitable fate,
hastened by McGrizzled breakfasts
of dubious origin.

Youthful anachronisms
among innumerable ancient ones
include a young Asian couple

finishing their coffees and mutual flirtations,
as hand in hand, they exit the side-door,
crossing the parking lot towards the river Styx.

An even younger mother
is herding a set of toddler-twins,
awakened earlier than they prefer

as they now crankily demand
identical sausage patties
and cheap toys destined for landfills.

What if life is as
bland and purposeless as the
hashbrown I just ate?

One common element of McHades –
aside from the young lovers – it seems that
none here seems pleased with their present
or eager to embrace their futures;

it is a collective rumination,
a group-think procrastination.

What if none of this matters?

But each of us must face what comes next,
and one by one, we do,
slipping through the side-door,

first the flirting couple,
next the mother of sleepy twins,

with the countless octogenarians
each taking as much time as they wish
in gathering their past achievements
and unspoken unfilled ambitions.

What if it’s all just a game,
and I’ve been chasing the wrong things?

My phone vibrates, warning me
that I must soon return to my role
supporting the white-collar,
working-class worlds.

I finish my Sausage McBluffen with Egg
and exit through the side-door. The river

seems much closer these days, but still
I still have a ways to go.
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 6 prompt: write a poem that emphasizes the power of “if”.

a wednesday or thursday night at a half-empty pub

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Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

a wednesday or thursday night at a half-empty pub

hazy season
lost to memory
lazy reason
evaporated into
emptiness both felt

he seemed…
almost ok

she
good enough
for now

intimate chemistry of voids
imprecise, gap-filling science

trolling pubs for meaning
finding only flirty diversion

“I’m bored,” she said.
“Wanna leave?”

He nodded.
***

Written for dVerse Troll quadrille, hosted by Frank Hubeny. Other poets have contributed here.