This is, we are.

Saw a dead mouse in the driveway
Walking home from work
Not a mark on its tiny body
Just like it was lying there, asleep.

It seemed significant
Or like it should be
Like when we were young
And my friend
Came across dismembered
Bird wings lying on city streets
Every day for a week
She took it as a sign
That the world is ending

That’s when we started
Drinking cup after cup
Of black coffee
In the opening
Days of the anthropocene
Desperate to know
What it all means

Back then we wore
Our worries on our sleeves
We battered our hearts
Against every street
Like they were our shields
Drank through our nights
Into the morning

Now we wait
And watch
Powerless to stop
Unable to look away

4.8.22

I used to write poetry
Now I barely read it
Late at night
Longing for a blank page
To fill of its own volition

As if some wishful magic
Could call who
I once was
Home to myself

All the hard years
Bleed together
The steel city
To Philly and
Then home again.

Heartbreak and getting gone
Too soon or too late
Depending on the day
Making way to them good times
Come back round again

Cancer scare
Holding my best friend
As she took her last breath
All the ache bled
Into an ink dry riverbed
Of empty nights
Flowing one to the next

Put my head down
Counted the days
While I bled and ached
Raised my eyes again
Just in time for the next war

This is not
My first experience
With irony
Or even my worst
Just the latest.

A self-involved view
Of the next world war
If there ever was one,
For sure.

Los Angeles 5/22

I have been talking
For a year at least
Through gritted teeth
And hurts running so deep
In circles about the relief
That accompanies releasing
Love when it’s time to go.

But I love this city
How the smog
Sticks in my lungs
Like the cigarettes I don’t smoke
The rush from one corner to another

Next to one of the best friends
I have ever known
From concrete canyon to desert mountain top
Breathe life back into me
This city…
A contradiction my black and white vision
Can see clearly, finally.

Even in the rain
We warehoused pain
All through the hard years
As the overture to the end of days
Opens.

We spent them hiding firearms away
In empty rooms for the days
When trigger fingers itch
For annihilation, again.

Eyes so tired
From bearing witness
To cycles of immolation
Rats running a race
Everyone knows is a joke
Yet we run it all the same.

We earned our rest
Right here, in the blacktop
Concrete and steel, belly of the beast
In the ruins at the edge of the world
Watching container ships
Fade in the distance
A symptom for a sickness
With no cure.