Everyone is gone.
They migrated to brighter places.
And I am here,
Caught like a butterfly in winter
or a bat in a tower.
Doomed to die of cold, slow suffocation,
And I am here,
naked as bones,
growing fat and old
in the long night of my complacency.
There might have been more, but I am too worn and slow
to keep up with the crowd.
So I am here.
I am here.
This is the cemetery for those who lost the war against wages,
veterans who raged against the taxation of body and soul-
everything we gave in hours. So many hours.
I am here
in the purgatory of defeat.
They always ask why she stayed.
But, I think you know the math of it.
This is a poem about abortion rights.
I don’t believe in hell,
but I’ve got an idea of what it might be.
Languishing orphans in a Romanian cage,
sitting in urine,
dying of AIDS.
The panopticon gaze on missed menses,
or visitor in the night,
his kindly wife.
Every anomaly is an invitation
Hell is the body
prone and pried open for all to see.
It is emergency room corpses,
sepsis, and secrets.
Deadly exorcisms of rape and incest.
Hell is hot like Alabama
or cold like the hands of a priest,
clutching the wealth of genocide gold
and clasping tradition like a rosary of bones.
Hell is a landscape where a thousand wombs bloom,
sprouting babies, soldiers, and beggars
each doomed to die ravaged and poor
Because life is a weapon
of wealth and
One of my goals this year is to write a poem about each book that I read. Earlier this month, I read Red Horizons, a book about the dictatorship/foreign policy of Romania’s Nicolae Ceausescu. A character that captured my imagination in the book was the villainous portrayal of Nicolae’s son, Nicu. His story raises questions about justice, especially in light of all of the sexual harassment and assault that has garnered media attention this year. What is justice? How do we make the horrors of history right?
Nicu crashed the car he was given for raping a 15 year old.
He pissed on the only oysters in the country, when the people ate nettles and scraps.
The only justice he saw was an early death by cirrhosis.
But, what is justice anyway?
A bullet to the head on Christmas day?
Or is it a century and a half spent locked away?
Is justice the sanitized violence of the state?
Or is it a mob with machetes?
Is it a mantra to make the boogeyman go away?
or a myth to comfort the victims of a meaningless world?
When words won’t make it better, bars and bullets do the trick.
Maybe the long shadow will pass.
The better world we’ve built will erase the darkest parts.
If we aren’t too traumatized to continue,
we might believe in that myth too.
Plants forget birthdays,
where the car is parked,
and the hierarchies of life
that put them below animals,
but above fungi and bacteria.
Plants forget Lysenko’s science
They forget the stress of the dark and dry.
All the things we can do without.
winter so they can bloom,
and an unkind touch.
They keep memories stored in their
roots and leaves,
I wanted to write a poem dedicated to Eurypterids, the prehistoric predator also known as sea scorpions.
by H. Bradford
Fear is a eurypterid.
It is the horror of claws and spindly limbs, coded into our DNA
It is epigenetic trauma that crawled out of the sea on the fins of fearful fish.
They turned terrestrial to escape it.
So now we shiver at the sight of spiders and scorpions.
The archetype of arachnophobia is inborn.
Our phobias are Paleozoic.
Our maladies never truly vanished from Mesozoic seas.
Fear is a package, delivered through time in the bodies of fish, frogs, and apes.
Fear is the eurypterid who hunted long ago,
and we’ve been haunted ever since.
A 1910 painting of eurypterids by Charles Knight