Cells (Two Poems)

Traffic Jam


I sit alone in squalid thought

as smog grows all around me,

a baby’s swaddling clothes,

my seatbelt like a bandolier

twinkling with ammunition.

A member of the army

of sedentary troops, I’m hired

to sit and roll along

in sluggish anomie,

as swords of sunshine

slash my eyes; a fly crawls up

the windshield, his movements

unimpeded.  I wonder if his eyes

can see how gravely

I’m defeated.  I could of course

be cruel and flick him with the wiper,

but I refuse to use that tool–

I’m not that kind of viper.

Instead I’ll bash the dashboard,

snarl, and be so self-important,

forgetting worship of the cash lord

or in my pants the sore tent.

The modern world I’ve helped

to make is less than pleasant sometimes,

explaining why I’m such a flake,

a peasant, and a dumb swine.

I’m lucky to live on the earth

and thank it for its blessings;

remind me to cut down on meat,

eat salad, skip the dressing.


Womb Service


Sex reminds you that you’re

separate in your sequestered

ecstasy.  Love proves you’re

lonely as the one you love

says the jig is up and jilts you,

unless you’re the lucky dumper

with the guilt-filled trunk,

instead of the muttering shuffle-

bound slumping chump.

Connections between people:

what else could be more fragile?

Especially for those who make

their living being agile?

We all get bored by guarantees

and take the best for granted

until we find we’re quarantined,

the floor below all slanted.

When those we know enough to love

with all our might are gone,

we stumble home through darkest night

and worship them alone.

The prison of the self we share–

the world’s a crowded cranium.

Our brain, the earth, our hearts’ despair

grows wild as a geranium.


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