I am aware

that sitting here

in this rental, alone,

unemployed today

& contemplating

my existence with pen

on paper, is an act

enjoyed by the wealthiest few,

those of us who live

on the fringes

in this insulated land

of excess, tacitly permitting

the thefts & deaths

perpetrated in our names.

The cost of that liberation

is paid in blood & pain,

guilt & profit—war has always been

good business. Fighting, clawing

to dominate & destroy:

the law of survival—individual

& tribal—has to evolve,

or we may as well fly

like lemmings to the sea.


It seems so simple

looking out this window

at the squirrels & deer,

cup of coffee on my desk,

feeling my melancholy breath,

the silence that allows

this tinnitus in my head,

& occasional creaks

from the joints of my house. My back,

once covered by the Canadian

border I almost crossed

during the Vietnam War,

is up against it today. I am

a wanted man, a fugitive for

refusing to pay

a bum ticket in Kelowna, BC,

so there’s nowhere to run anymore

for a guy with no credit

who drives a one-eyed

old Mercury station wagon.


Oh, woe is me, my Bic pen

is exhausted. I throw it away

& grab another. I miss my mother

today, & I guess that’s probably why

I’m singing the blues—musing about the fate

of man. Doesn’t everyone love their mother?

So how can we justify killing

each other: mothers, children, soldiers,

lovers? How can we open

another beer and turn on the TV

while we pay our brothers to murder

sisters miles away in the name of money

disguised as rhetoric? I remember thinking

how crazy those little lemmings

must be (like the kamikaze Japanese):

suicide to save the species.


Holed up in Montana, I’ve held out

like the lemurs, isolated most days,

but the pirates, the poachers, the night snipers

are here—patrolling around the clock.

Who knows when they’ll come

for my hair or my tongue?

Maybe after the bushmeat

& oil markets collapse,

or they’ve taken my sister as part of the pact

to destroy my effort to love what’s left.

Maybe then I’ll be ready

to roll over in the end,

after the curtain comes down

& the lights go out. Who knows?

Right now it’s snowing outside.

The honeysuckle & roses are dormant.

I peel a blood orange—nothing

moves out there—

& this cup of coffee is cold.


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