The Whites of Their Eyes

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
My face grows weary in these days
We would love a cause to smile
To laugh that laugh without a style
To know a thing outside a maze
To forget a moment deception's ways;

Knowing at once some spare thing
Without a camera or microphone
But with the clear instrument alone
Known once as it was they used to sing
What cause of relief then would this bring;

We would like instead an honest war
For God knows we have prepared one
With no new thing under the sun
And old truth come, forgotten lore
And forgetting what our lies were for;

Am I beyond man for this admission
That we cannot agree, although we know
This self-same truth, and very slow
We grasp our steadfast opposition
We know we need not ask permission;

To know that it is still man you fight
And your fight is not misunderstanding
He and ye are not less man in landing
Blow upon blow as you face aright
The one you strike and drive to flight;

Do not despair that your schemes must fail
Do you truly rejoice in your broken state
Can you altogether never seek to retaliate
You have not understood at all, in this you ail
When death appears, man too must wail;

But know that when from sleep we arise
You who have brought this sleep upon us
Will you forget then what your glory was
Will you remember it beyond your lies
When you see it flashing in our eyes?



Lollypop Stick Sword by Jessica C
it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Principle of annihilation, the edge of creation
The mandate of heaven, the might of man
The instrument of slaughter; the ward of humankind
Dividing between true and lie, rank and station
The weapon of peace, emblem of forever war
A most perfect balance and yet always more
For such a thing we have no word
But because of this, we call it Sword.


The Homeless

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Under the shadow of the great ones
Sleep gently, though you do not know
Where you will be the day after tomorrow
Lay low, below blazing words and guns
Which burn with unelemental fire
And the terror pulse upon the wire;
O man, are you but the only one wise
Knowing not how to labor or spin
To explain to you, who could begin
The web of impossible truths and lies
Spun by men for men and all their sons
Under the shadow of the great ones?


The President's Speech

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
The tin god comes, like an unlit lamp
A thing of bronze, but awaiting his cue
And perhaps come to life, to blink, to move
The mechanical Turk; of Kenyan stamp
A man of no small talent and poise
Repurposed to generate our noise
Did they say once - that he would save
Forbid it! But the crowd raves and roars
That smooth baritone; the emotion soars
Walking forsooth with a genteel wave
Into a hall of ten-thousand traps
But the audience loves- the people claps!
Dreams of his father, of another world
Where Old Karl hadn't brought forth amain
An army destined to be a stain
Of blood; the reds their flag unfurled
Was murder first of body then soul
Fill the cup then, fill it full--
With each subtle lie, the people require
Wink at the men with the burning bomb
Then complain with your old aplomb--?
Your strength now it may seem to retire
The handlers prod and twist the clamp
But the tin god comes, like an unlit lamp.



Poor Mountain by Donnie Nunley

it is addressed thusly:

A vision
it reads:
There in weeping August I saw
Not restrained by custom or law
- and a slight was given us there to say
We might have had another ending
As if this was from us thus sending
And not yet another turn of the day
To forget we but respond in this state
Long gone was our turn to initiate;
- a vision of the mourning gods
Makers of decision, judges all
Standing before their judgment wall
Marking points and counting odds
And the heaven was unstill with fission
The unseen dense with troubled vision
- and still they say, as their fingers wag
We darkened the sun, bringers of darkening
Not to the heavy weather harkening
Because you remember it, curse the flag
Because they made it what it was not
Were these the laws for which we fought?
- but their hands waver, it doesn't add up
Who is in the Chair? Who is in control?
Had a shadow from the room then stole
They search for the one who shared the cup
But even the devil is there to accuse
Whose game is this then to lose?
- not black or white, but the impossible gray
noise, pure noise distorting all thinking
was by it even the sun's eye blinking
"Winter comes", and what beyond it lay
Not restrained by custom or law
- there in weeping August I saw.



Rainbow by Baldur McQueen

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
In that place, where the seas rage
And rise; and this primordial fearing
Remembers something appearing
In the skies; forgetting every stage
Of man's demise, his own despise
mistaken for flesh before God's eyes;
Remember mildly that ribbon flying
As a banner of promise, a covenant
An every-color thing well meant
Thought to be, or were we but trying
Ever poorly not to quite recognize
What in its soaring it now implies?
If we fear the sea to swallow us whole
(as we ever do--) can it be sinking
Or is another thread in our thinking
That knows there is no second skull --
The rainbow! The waves did expire
And what remains? What remains is fire.


The Call from Athelney

The Ruins of San Franciso by Andrew McFarlane

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
Defeated ones; such as we are
Left with no hope and no vision
But the fragments of old fission
Of an unreconstructed star
Each crying out that he knows
Where every broken part goes;
Those bright ones, their glinting face
Seen in part in part and whole
Of remorse and of regret full
Of memory but a fainting trace
We call out but they answer not
Or but utter to us the same thought
And the same warning, like a ghost
Wandering the halls of troubled house
We but an errant flea or frightened mouse
To make but a scene to our host
At night, the only ones listening, awake
To even hear for these spirits' sake
Our conjuration of dark memories
Presage what - a terrible, final fire
Or do we hear what else they inspire
These heroes, strange from across seas
That no defeat is final even for
Defeated ones, such as we are?