“Oh, awful. Sickening. The stats alone
could make your stomach turn. The other day
I told my friend, it can’t go on this way—
the ritual where these leaders just condone,
or smirk and turn their backs—or else bemoan
our ‘loss of values’ and pretend to pray…
You know, you think: a few used to display
a little strength of character, backbone…
And now we’re all just left (you’re sure? oh, thanks)
wondering, where’s the line? How many traumas
before we shake the numbness off, close ranks—
make sacrifices, right?—take active measures…
—No, I should, too. I’m swamped. Oh, no, the pleasure’s
mine. I’ve got the check next time, I promise.”
Permanent link to this post
(112 words, estimated 27 secs reading time)
They won’t be bought with fawning.
No need to call them “gods.”
You and they know that they and you
are natural frauds.
They won’t be lured by virtue.
In their den it’s understood:
A good poem’s not a poem that makes
the poet look good.
Intentions are their breakfast,
triumphs their midnight snack.
They eat the elegant jacket photo
If all the earth caught fire tonight,
they might be moved to save
three stalks of wheat, a ball of twine,
and a limestone cave.
The Gods of Poetry full post
(129 words, estimated 31 secs reading time)
Russian mathematician and recluse, b. 1966
Who proved the “soul conjecture,” beard and eyes
aflame, warlocklike; who substantiated
the stubborn, grand Conjecture formulated
by Poincaré; who, with baroque contempt
for process, threw the second proof online—
cast it before a world of fellow swine—
turned down the Fields and the Millennium Prize
(citing some convoluted private rule),
and shut the door. Who isn’t rich or kempt.
Martyr, monastic brooder, holy fool—
what has he proved by hiding all these years?
Some say he picks wild mushrooms now; some say
he plucks fruit higher than the Poincaré
(which has, I’m told, something to do with spheres).
Permanent link to this post
(106 words, estimated 25 secs reading time)
It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946
YOU ARE NOW IN BEDFORD FALLS
Your town your streets your closing walls
Home of the tree your wife is trimming
You both fell backward gasping swimming
Sputtering—too much life too soon
Made up a joke about the moon
You both agreed you’d half believe
Your brain’s on fire it’s Christmas Eve
The snow is plunging through the dark
The piano’s pounding Hark Hark Hark
The Angels La La Peace on Earth
To hell with everything since birth
A Ballad for George Bailey full post
(629 words, estimated 2:31 mins reading time)
Oh, somewhere in the alleys they’ve begun another game,
And the crowd still finds it thrilling, but the rules aren’t quite the same,
And the layoffs at the gasworks have the watchmen carrying knives,
And the mayor wakes in dreams before a council of ex-wives.
Coyotes sniff the windowsills; the downtown streetlamps flicker;
The grown-ups look so solemn, all their teenage children snicker;
The men have special difficulty speaking to their fathers.
Mighty Casey finds it hardest. Nowadays he hardly bothers.
In Mudville full post
(169 words, estimated 41 secs reading time)