Saturday, October 10, 2009

New Poem: Know the Refrain

Know the Refrain
it's like howling at the moon, and hearing it howl back
it's like watching the trees move in the breeze,
and feeling your veins do the same thing
it's like being tested by fire a hundred times
until only a core of diamonds remains
it's like listening to the same song a hundred times
just to hear the refrain

you wonder if you missed the train
reaching for a grip that slips out of your grasp
nothing but a gasp between you and forever
a well you're falling into
and something in the night calls your name
a phone ringing at midnight
with bad news breathing down your neck
a wreck of something you might have been
and you'll never build anything from the ruins
that won't fall down again
ashes, ashes, we all
fall down.

you can make your home look like a picture in a magazine
you can stake all your hopes on the American dream
you can break a thousand hearts looking for the right one
you can take from everybody you meet and not gain a thing.

something's missing.
meter, rhythm, rhyme
cadence and design
pages full of words that--
distilled into their purest form--
only repeat

Jesus saw us as sheep
and they nailed Him to a cross.
Paul called us idiots
and they locked him in a prison.
Socrates drank a poison cup
because he woke too many dreamers up.
Martin and Malcolm took a bullet
that was fired by 200 years of hate.

You're more likely to die for doing the right thing
and more likely to earn a profit for doing the wrong thing
and there's all these things laying around
radioactive, poisonous, dangerous
littering the ground we call history
but it's nobody's story but our own.
You wrote it.
I wrote it.
Worse yet, we let people we hardly knew
write it for us,
and our silence gave them consent
as long as we were kept content.

You've listen to this same song a hundred times . . .
i think by now
you know the refrain.

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