The Orator and the Bohemes

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
"Class and Identity," said the voice quite stern,
"Are the two axes upon which we turn."
But the Orator dissented and brashly said,
"Numbers and Classifications are for the dead."

"But you must be rationally classified," it replied
"It is for the common good we did decide."
"Down to the gates of hell," he retorted
"With the statistics by which such good is reported!"

"But you can't argue against Identity", it averred
"To find Who You Are has every passion stirred!"
"Yes, the way to be 'unique'" he said in jest
"'different' and 'special' like all of the rest!"

"Identity allows all to feel accepted," it went on
"So uniqueness cannot exalt either brain or brawn."
"Strength is a gift," he spat with contempt
"To help the weak, from this none are exempt."

"But those who are strong belittle," it chided
"That is what must be stopped, we have decided."
"A gift, if gifted" he then did explain
"Comes from God, not you, as life makes plain:

"Those who abuse it, will receive an end
"Through it, for God's own will does not bend
"And if they rise in their spirit to heaven's door
"As in Babel, their bodies will litter the floor."

"What you suggest is no moral law," it cried
"But to permit all power to be then exercised
"Until it finds some vague and 'natural' end
"Against this evil we will not bend!"

Waving then his hand dismissively
He shrugged his shoulders for all to see
And said, "Opinions on the matter are free,
"But not long can they withstand Reality."


The Poet Considers an Adulterous Generation

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
Setting down old Steinbeck's script
It could be heard, for the poet quipped,
The sum of modern literature
Of poets, and every word-picture
Is the allure of the forbidden fruit
Of each letting this lust take root
There are some to whom this matters not
But theirs is not the highest spot
Amid the ranks of writers great
And so O World, you earn my hate
As you and e'en the post modern
When not gripped in political concern
Have to body reduced all that's good and free
And made romance just adultery.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
I see on passing the slim reflection
Of the light against the black coffee
Resting low in the pot, a confection
Of doubt calling, of restless energy
Of a single cup left - perhaps more
As though in personification
This smug, bitter brackish ichor
Is too proud to need validation;
But will lie in state slowly staining
Carafe and cup and counter soon,
Born of burnt berry and steam straining
Hot but always cold after noon;

Saying; "you need me, do you not
Though a bitter and brackish brew;"
But maybe smug coffee hadn't thought
I'd went cold turkey out of the blue.


The Orator calls thinks on Truth Long Forgotten

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
The vision is ever constant, but reality is in flux
Says the man of ideas, whilst the bricks he ducks
To some of the others, who may wield the brick
Ideas all lack substance, but the world itself is thick;

The distributist who wrote that had something else in mind
For the ideas must find their purpose, when they are refined
By the fires of struggle, or at least some concrete test
If they were not constant, he'd quickly be redressed;

As many were in turn, often by their own device
Many were a lonely virtue, which soon becomes a vice;
Others resisted reality, tried to make for it a cage
And but others did only a war against it wage;

The golden thread! Do you see it running like the sparks
Through the dry kindling until the flame should make its marks
It zigs, it zags, it seems about as constant as the breeze
But is quite determined if you for a moment freeze;

And see the light and dark there create a kaleidoscope
Of this flashing fractal of a long forgotten hope
The good and true may always be driven to a rout
But drive still good man, drive still, for the truth will out!


The Falling Man

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
When the falling man came down
As bread cast upon the sea of city
Do we then offer him our pity
That he set his face to the unfeeling ground?
What kind of heart is taken then
To gaze into the bleak faceless sky
With not even a tear for the eye
And make good of a certain end?
In this, glorious tragic life
It is the soul they cannot kill
For with a courageous, defiant will
He cleaves the air as would a knife;
All heroism must some time come to this
Happily ever after is beyond the door
In one act the soulless world abhor
And taste freedom once as bliss;
Do we not here catch a prophecy,
A figure set twixt north and south
An oracle who opens not his mouth
Who in a moment cuts through the tragedy?
And those monstrous towers fell
So great and inhuman they devoured men
Those without and those within
Except this figure broke their spell?
We must misunderstand his choice
Do we think he threw his life away?
But it was already forfeit on that day
And announced victory without a voice;
He is the symbol of life lived toward death
The grace of his dive ten seconds long
Is by but image's trick made strong
Though its life spanned a single breath?
He cannot be welcomed or understood
By his death he does not bring benefit
He does not argue for a social net
Or life free of suffering as we would;
Forced to choose between dying in fire
Huddled, choked of human dignity
Judged by harsh Muslim rapacity
AN EYE FOR AN EYE they must require;
He does what every true man must finally do
For he must suffer the lawless men
And prolong life through death's dark end
And then see all made new
You greet my words with thoughtful frown
But what is worth the deepest pity
That does not love the virtue amid the city
When the falling man came down?
a postscript is here written:
See the Esquire article, 'The Falling Man'. His identity was eventually discovered, but the picture, long absorbed as an emotional, and perhaps spiritual truth, pertains not to him, but to the symbol he formed in the chance moment in which he turned the darkest fate into bright destiny.


Ocean City

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
In light and shadow we found solace
Sun's heat and draping clouds dappled
Burning sand as warmth of summer
Before its flame was by rain put out
And the cool of thread woven laid down
Under shade of canopy and pale cloud
Whose every-color is scattered to gray
And as the painter chose it was rightly
The muted teals and white-corn colored sands
Sky washed out in watercolor hues
And the daub of moving cotton-like white
Each point of parasol and chair bringing
Eye to move against the still horizon
And the lapping waves make allegation
Of their elder brothers being beached
And they rise and fall without knowing
Making the dark line of damp move
A color as cold-dark as indicates the toe
Searching for shell's shape by chance touching
Light walking through each rise pressing
Salt and sand in all places there found
And as the waves the great towers
Rise and fall behind us watching
And being watched by those behind them
But the road remains and the sea remains
And the beach by degrees drifts southward
And the strangers shade one another cordially
From the ever-present sun.



it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
Now laying upon cloth upon the sand
In this day, cool, clouds parting we drove out
With stillness and breath on broken stones
I feel our world pace the tractless deep.