quinn esq's picture

    It's Frightening To Think That Your Life Is In Their Hands (to/from/for Scottie)



    The night is my shadow,

    and the shadow, my light.

    The coyotes and I roam these canyons and squares,

    our long, ragged coats sweep the streets

    as we wander.


    We are the Cherokee Curse

    upon the American Mall,

    pursuing the Trail with magic

    and soft padded paw.


    The coyotes stop to breathe on a store window,

    and my warm tongue on the cold glass

    writes the revolutionary word:



    The dream-life of our nation

     has become a psychotic non-dance,

     driven by remote-control brutality,

    written, produced, and directed by naive demons.


    Menacing lights sweep

    the smoggy basin of this 20th century,

    searching for a zeitgeist gone AWOL,

    (and the networks promise us EXCLUSIVE coverage.)


    Faithlessness fills the night air,

      and Babylon reloads.


                                       And the prophet said, "They are armed...

                                       Where there was earth, they have sown erosion.

                                       Where there was truth, they have sown advertising.

                                       Where there was love, they have sown the Super Bowl.

                                       Where there was justice, they have sown opinion polls.

                                       Where there was dance, they have sown tranquilizers.

                                       Where there was community, they have sown prime real estate.

                                                                                              ... but we are dangerous."


                                       We are stakes through the eye of fashion,

                                                                                                    and our bride is squalor.

                                       We are safety net fallout,

                                                                            and regret nothing.

                                       We are silent extras,

                                                                      on the Imperial set.

                                       We are the shamans of the alleyways -

                                                        forming sacred signs in the bus shelter,

                                                        healing highways jammed with screaming cans of meat,

                                                        repeating our sacred prayer, beneath the broken bridges:

                                                                                                            "Blessed Are These."




                                        Our words are made subject to the National Security laws,

                                                                                           for we are traitors.

                                                                                           Yes, we are traitors...

                                                                                                   to their pale dream,

                                                                                                  The Dream of The Betrayers.


                                        They have forgotten God, and God has surely forgotten us.

                                                                                   (Jesus tells me, this I know.)



    In 1987, I had never written a poem. In the late Spring of that year, I returned home from my adventuring, and upon setting foot in the farmyard, began writing. Pretty much compulsively.

    This is one of the poems from that first batch, a number of which got published - such as "Harvested" - but some of which I just kept to myself, like this one. I'm putting some of them up at my Posterous site:


    This poem incorporates phrases and images from my friend Scottie O, who was then - and is now - a great writer. Thus, the address, "to/from/for Scottie." We were writing, swapping comments on the twisted world Reagan was leading us into, and it gave birth to this poem.

    Anyhoo... how do Scottie? Hope you're keeping well, and writing up a storm!


    And yes, mobbing is encouraged.

    No rules in a poetry fight.

    I don't know how to write a poem. 

    I'm glad that you do, Q.  ;o)


    Keep them coming.  '...a psychotic non-dance'.  Brrrr.

    I've got a couple about birds.... ;-)

    I kinda like birrrds. 

    A few weeks ago a small grey fox came near the house and circled a weeping birch tree with a bird feeder hanging from it.  Damned if it didn't climb right up the tree.  You read that they can; it went so fast it was hard to tell how it did it.  Then it started climbing my goofy fake trees.  I've planted some tall apple tree branches near the house, and i wire juniper branches, or pine, sometimes quakee, to them to draw the birds closer.  How in the world he/she got up those is anyone's guess.  One night he/she came down fast and scared a skunk; bad night, that was.

    Last night I dreamt that an imaginary tree out one of the solar windows was full of sleeping foxes, red and grey... and one red chicken. 

    A mind is a terrible thing to have...

    I like them alot, Q. Especially Camus the Canuck. Reminds me of your other Last Shadow piece. Same dark place. Same 'voice', no?

    On this one here, it made me think of this Huxley vs Orwell smackdown I came across the other day. Thought you might like it.

    Thanks for that Huxley-Orwell link - it's great! I always liked Huxley more, so it's nice to have my prejudices confirmed. ;-)

    And odd, but I'd never noticed the Camus ---> Last Shadow link, but, yes, it's there. They are a very similar voice, Shadow's being somewhat older, a bit nastier. As a kid, I'd loved Camus' L’Étranger. It irritated me, but stayed with me. So the mood I was in that day on the beach, writing Camus, was one I associated with L’Étranger. And as you say, there it is again in Shadow, only less conscious 10-15 years later.

    I'm kind of an idiot when it comes to seeing things that are there in my own poems. In fact, I try not to see too much or make them too conscious. But it's always fun when other people do it!  

    Thanks for the read, Obey.

    Where there was community, they have sown prime real estate... To say nothing of golf courses and malls... Good stuff!

    Thanks Dick! Being extremely anti-real estate, I always kindof enjoyed that bit. 

    Glad you could drop by, and thanks for the read. ;-)

    Very nice. I enjoy reading your words. Your writing is mesmerizing. Kind of like falling in a stream and being carried to who knows where but you know you'll enjoy the ride.  I especially like your stories about 'slipping through time' and the one where you learned to run.

    I haven't written many stories since the River Running one, though I hope the story-writing urge/muse re-appears at some point.

    About the closest I've come is this one, about the rye-field. It was completely mesmerising in real life, though not sure I captured it at all in the writing.


    And thanks for the kind words, Emerson.

    First I read that Katie Couric is leaving the Evening News, and now I read this.  My therapist has to increase my dosage now; she just has to.

    Thanks for publishing a poem.  I think if I read one more declarative sentence about anything I may expire.  I set my default browser font to Wingdings for sites like HuffPo or NHK news. I’ve been reading your poems at your site and all I can do is rap my knuckles on the bar and say “Sooth man. Cool.”

    Declarative sentences feel to me like declarations of war. At least lately. On politics. 

    These poems grew out of the most intense period of politicking I'd had in my life - maybe some sortof reaction, donno. Sadly, you can still hear the politics in some of them - dead men in big boots, clomping around in the background.

    Anyhoo. The poem here - for Scottie - was originally, in my mind, one of the "big" ones. It felt long, multi-parted, unwieldy, and difficult as hell, what with the rhythm appearing, then disappearing etc. Little did I know that poeming could grow to monster length. Like that NY Sidewalk one. 


    And when I go over them all, the ones that make me smile the most these days, are the shortest of all. Like this one, which I'd planned to put up as part of a batch over at my blog later this week, but which will do nicely here. A pure dream poem, one raindrop falling on the head during a hot day. Maybe help with the political withdrawal. 

    Cheers, Larry.


    The Daisy

    As I plucked the last word

    from this poem,

    I swear I heard

    the universe whisper,

    "loves me."

    Oh. Bravo. 

    Canadian Haiku.


    Sorry, we never had haiku up here.

    Though we did have hai karate. 

    Quality stuff. A quart of that and a little lime, and you're in business.

    OK.  I'll have an English Leather neat, with a soda back thank you.

    You know those Canacks can speak English and French:



    They do? Well that explains a lot.  I see the Canadian Parliament on CSPAN.  I just assumed that everybody in Canada had some kind of Turrets Syndrome.

    Somebody was telling me about this film TODAY. Bizarrely, I haven't seen it.

    Probably because they allowed French people into it, and that just seemed wrong. 

    I do not wish to sound trite.

    But Damn! You got the Creative corner on the Hit List!


    Good for you and good for us!

    That's because all 211 of my relatives came and visited, Dick.

    Actually, nice that people dropped by and read this stuff. I'm kinda shocked.

    Of course that number is slightly inflated.  You should debit out the NSA crawler, probably a computer program that logged on just to sniff the air, and your DHS minder, The DIA reader, and the guy/gal/gay guy/gay gal at the Office of Naval Intelligence, CIA, and so forth.  Still the net is a hefty number.  Maybe you are on to something. 

    I would like to thank Jesus, for giving me this victory today... And I'd also like to say, to all the other finalists in this category, that I was proud just to be considered in the same class as blogs like.... ummmm... blogs like "Moo - Beep Beep Beep"... and ahhhh....

    Wait a fucking minute.

    Are you telling me that MOO - BEEP BEEP BEEP got as many readers as my poem?

    Take me now, Lord. Either that, or you gotta take these others outta here. Cause I've had it.


    You must be new here so let me give you a little heads up.  If the Lord sent you to this planet it pretty much means that He is trying to get rid of you and under no circumstances will He take you back.   Now you know why I am so upset about Katie Couric.  Somehow for me she took the sting out of the daily Earth news.  Maybe it was her smile.

    I donno. Al Jazeera runs some nice stuff. I woulda thought this would turn your crank. 

    OK.  You win this round.

    I liked the

     soft padded paw. 

    The coyotes stop to breathe on a store window,

    the mannequins watching on the other side of the glass

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