Unholy Vengeance


Image

Into the rain and clapping thunder
Sends God His vengeful deadly host
To see His children torn asunder
For Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

Throughout the night, and sure the road
Iron hooves clip steady shoreward
And more the rattling of the swords
Their sharpened tips now pointing forward

In fearless form astride their steeds
into pitched battle thrown
Ride Death and Justice gallantly
Slicing meat from bone

Upon each hamlet, rape and pillage
Man offered up for Heaven’s plunder
While screams ascend from every village
And babies slain in wide eyed wonder

No mercy shown unto this throng
Nor gracious sympathy bestowed
While Justice seeks to right a wrong
Death collects what God is owed

Before their blades a thousand fall
Ten thousand more now pave the street
Into the sea are driven all
This sacrilege is now complete

And as the surf coughs up her dead
Death and Justice sheath their blades
The golden sands now blood-soaked red
Belie this savage Godly raid

Revenge exacts its costly measure
Exhausted homeward ride the two
They fight not for acclaim or treasure
But to enforce what’s “right” and “true”

An Ode To the Children of Syria


Image“For Justice all, or none to have,
half-measures will not matter
Beneath the sword of Damocles
our heads upon a platter
We fight so that the future sees
our chains, slave-forged, now shattered.
We’ve offered up our innocence,
ascending heaven’s ladder.”

The price of freedom comes not cheap
It’s why the village women weep
Sweet daughters and their native sons
Lie dead beneath the setting sun

Old age will never call their names
Nor will they play their childhood games
They gave their lives that we might live
No greater gift could children give.

For Allah gathers to His chest
The angels here we lay to rest
He carries forth into darkest night
These stars to hang that shine so bright

As painful as this fight may be
It now comes back to you and me
We have no children left to pay
The price demanded of this day

Oh, Sweet Liberty, our hearts succumb
To the constant beat of Freedom’s drum
With swords drawn high we heed the call
In battles pitched we give our all

Yet still we fear the sting of death
The drawing of our final breath
Immortalize our children’s names
Within a hot and forging flame

 

 

Letting Go


Image

Slip away my son, your night has come
As this day unwinds the sorrow
And do not fear the bells you hear
They ring a bright tomorrow

See the stars above, shining bright, my love
It reveals a path for you
Take one step to be heaven bound and free
Your spirit’s been renewed

It has been my boy, the utmost joy
To hold and love you true
If I must let go, you must surely know
How proud I am of you

Take my hand my dear, and feel me near
Let go these earthly hollows
Feel the light within as you now ascend
And know that I will follow

 

Opposite Sides of the Same Pain


grief

A Sunni mother silently watches:
overhead, a gathering of scavenging ravens
paints the dusky sky above
the broken bodies of her three children.
Bewilderment mixed with horror and beauty,
accented by the pebbles beneath her feet,
polished smooth by a flood of tears.
An acrid wind swirls
with scattered hope and broken dreams;
confetti raining on freshly scorched earth.
Another womb is rent in unbearable grief
at the loss of its precious fruit.

grief 2

In that very moment, across the sea,
a Haitian waif reflects:
A flock of seagulls angrily position
above the ghetto garbage heap
next to a crumbling shanty
where her newborn triplets scream with hunger.
Bewilderment mixed
with horror and beauty,
the waste beneath her feet glistens
with the flood of her tears.
The stench of rotting wind swirls
with scattered hope and broken dreams;
flies rising up from quaked earth.
Another womb is rent in unbearable grief
at the bounty of its damnable fruit.

 

The Case Against “Fluff” Pieces on WordPress


human_suffering_141-500x218 (1)

I might safely estimate that well over 80% of the material I have read on WordPress is what we writers might call “fluff” pieces. A “fluff piece” is a news story or pieces of writing which are essentially feel good op-eds.  The writing is meant to be cute, funny, or something like that. For example, if a writer does a story about kittens, it is a “fluff piece”.  Stories about kittens are essentially unimportant (oh, I can hear the hate mail churning!) The writer chose to write about kittens, not because it was important, but because it is cute and may help his/her viewer stats.

Fluff may take on numerous guises.  Aforementioned kittens?  Fluff.  Family travel logs?  Fluff.  Best make-up products on the market?  Fluff.  But to me,  the most offending piece of fluff on the WordPress market today are the countless stories that try desperately to convince the reader that the universe we live in; the planet we inhabit; the relationships we take shelter in – all of these somehow rotate within and upon some essentially pleasing spindle they call “goodness.”  Mostly, this goodness online is ego-defined as some omnipresent benefactor lovingly watching over us, raining upon our precious little heads measures of good fortune, benevolence, and unconditional love.  Yeah…fluff!

You have to travel far and wide into the ether of WordPress to hear an opposing viewpoint to this endless vomiting of “goodness.”  While the writer of such pieces may feel justified because he or she just can’t contain the fact that something made them happy, they have to purposefully put on blinders so as not to disturb their nirvana with snapshots of the truth.  The world is not essentially “good.”  Fluff is fleeting.

More than 5/8ths of the world’s population live in impoverished and violent conditions, whether that violence is nature driven or man-made.  To them, this vaporous concept of “life is good” is like a fleeting but violent wind that passes over them and cuts them sharply to the bone.  They are as aware of the “goodness” showered upon the fortunate few as we are willfully ignorant of their pain and suffering.

If you are fortunate enough to own a computer and have the luxury of spending your free time posting online, chances are these people live in the periphery of your vision.  You only glimpse them briefly on sensationalized news channels that can be quickly turned over to a “fluff” program like American Idol.  It just “feels better” not to notice.  Don’t lie…we have all been guilty of looking away to ease our conscience.

Yet there they are…the majority of the earth’s population starving, dying of treatable disease, buried to their necks in the fire-ant-ridden blazing sands of poverty and violence as the majority of us munch away on cheese-laden nachos while watching the Super Bowl.  It just feels better not to notice.  We need the “fluff” in our lives with which to stuff our ears and block out the infernal screams of our dying brothers and sisters.   By the way, if the term “brothers and sisters” offend, I’ve made my case.

You need proof?  Admit it.  Most of those who started reading this post have surfed to another WordPress freshly-pressed site about kittens, or dating advice, or how-to-be happy sites because, well…it simply “feels better.”  We need our goodness fix.  We need our fluff.  The only people who will read this through to the end are the artists and poets who understand that life is anything but benevolent and “good.”  They recognize, in their works, the crush of human apathy and indifference toward the brutal suffering of the “least” of our brethren.  They know because they don’t run from suffering…they run toward it.  Not to shun it, but to embrace it and evolve as human beings.

It appears the editorial staff of WordPress is complicit in the spewing of “fluff” when you consider that poets and artists are freshly-pressed much, much less than the feel-good article writers.  You won’t read this on WordPress because it feels “bad.” It probably isn’t a conscious decision on their part; it’s basic fluff survival 101: who wants to read depressing shit?  It just doesn’t sell!

The artists and poets of WordPress may be less visible, but they are there.  Shame on WordPress for making them enter in the dark and through the back door.  They struggle in vain to instruct a worldview that is ultimately a call to action.  They use their words to scatter the razor-toothed rats that gnaw on the emaciated bones of the poor, the hungry, the murdered masses. Poets and artists know there is goodness out there…they truly do. They see “goodness” descend upon the more fortunate, while the bulk of humanity suffers in despair and agonizing isolation.  They just refuse to wear the blinders.

For myself, I no longer really give a damn about this fleeting goodness. I’ve been shot, stabbed, robbed, and violated in a thousand ways that more than fill one lifetime of despair. And yes, in case you’ve ever read my writing, I have buried my grief and pain in ample cups of amber absolution and beneath the press of fentanyl patches.  I, too, am a coward. If there is goodness in my life, it is only there to mock the other 99.9% of my existence so far. I’m not happy, that is true. But I’d rather spend eternity locked in the pages of Baudelaire and Rimbaud than spend another minute reading about your “kittens.”

Perhaps that’s why most of my postings are poems.  Poetry allows a writer to scream invectives to an unjust, unhearing, apathetic God (who, in my opinion, is the ultimate piece of “fluff)  I’ve seen others (Sandy Hook, Aurora, Iraq, the Sudan comes to mind) who have seen their human potential snuffed out by either extreme violence, (human against human) or natural disaster (famine, floods, disease).  I’ve seen the children of Syria and Libya and Somalia, and, well…spin the globe and press your finger upon it.  It will almost certainly stop at one of these hellholes devoid of human compassion.  The majority of the world’s populations are simply ground to dust by the merciless millstone of life.

I am happy for those of you who believe the illusion that “evil” is the transitory state of humanity and that “good” is the true, permanent human blessing. WordPress appears to exist so that you can dine on a steady diet of “fluff.”  I just don’t see that wide-eyed gorging of “feel good” backed up by facts.  I’ll continue reading your fluff because people like me are more in need of a laugh than just about anybody. I just can’t join you at that particular ”hallelujah” table.  Enjoy the fruits of this “goodness”, but never forget that even more of your brethren have never known such feel-good promise in their lives…and “fluff” just won’t fill distended bellies or bind up the bleeding wounds.

An Ode to Syria’s Freedom Fighters: the Children


SYRIAN-CHILDREN-640x468

     For Justice all, or none to have, half-measures will not matter
    Beneath the sword of al-Assad our heads upon a platter
    Fight until our people’s chains, slave-forged, now timely shatter
    We’ve offered up our innocence, ascending heaven’s ladder

The price of freedom comes not cheap
It’s why the village women weep
Sweet daughters and their native sons
Lie dead beneath the setting sun

Old age will never call their names
Nor will they play their childhood games
They gave their lives that we might live
No greater gift could children give.

For Allah gathers to His chest
The angels here we lay to rest
He carries forth through darkest night
These stars to hang that shine so bright

     For Justice all, or none to have, half-measures will not matter
    Beneath the sword of al-Assad our heads upon a platter
    Fight until our people’s chains, slave-forged, now timely shatter
    We’ve offered up our innocence, ascending heaven’s ladder

As painful as this fight may be
It now comes back to you and me
We have no children left to pay
The price demanded of this day

Oh, Sweet Liberty our hearts succumb
To the constant beat of Freedom’s drum
With swords drawn high we heed the call
In battles pitched we give our all

Yet still we fear the sting of death
The drawing of  our final breath
Immortalize our children’s  names
Within a hot and forging flame

     For Justice all, or none to have, half-measures will not matter
    Beneath the sword of al-Assad our heads upon a platter
    Fight until our people’s chains, slave-forged, now timely shatter
    We’ve offered up our innocence, ascending heaven’s ladder

Fight, My Brothers


american-soldiers-in-iraq

Fight, my brothers, boys to men
And if you fall, to God ascend
Swear your oath on bended knee
Take up your march to victory

Do not fear to be laid low
Each hero has his story told
Arise my brothers, on lifted tide
Right this wrong – or else we die

For every decent thing within
Come we upon whose lives depend
Into the fray we march and send
The boldest and the best of them

Though weary, faint, and sore afraid
Through cold of morning, heat of day
We cannot take another way
Our path is clear, we’ve naught to say

Cross mountains high and valleys low
In starlight bathed and moonbeams glow
With every bone and sinew bowed
For every oath and debt we owe

Into the night and far beyond
Cross fiery fields, o’er foggy ponds
Our path is clear, so brothers bond
Take up your arms and carry on

Our time has come to march this road
For each of us must bear this load
To sacrifice what’s been bestowed
To ante up a measure owed

To live and die with equal grace
We must unite and hold this place
Conscious damned, I’ll plead my case
Prepare your foe to lay to waste

A new and evil day emerges
Full of hate and dreadful scourges
Sing loud and full your deathly dirges
Be stout of heart, your song, it purges

Ignore your fears, a devil’s charm
And when in doubt a haughty song
Lift up your eyes and carry on
Steadfast into the setting sun

Fight my brothers, with heads held high
Anything less and we all die
In battle pitch our freedom lies
We have no time to sympathize

With shoulders broad take up your arms
The threat before shall be disarmed
Quick-step into the fog of harm
So those we love may carry on

And do not wince or flee this place
A coward’s doubt is his disgrace
Be true to your brothers, stay this place
For yours is not to throw this race

Be brave. be sure and quick in pace
March beyond this arduous space
Laid low by arrows, bow and mace
Each death revealed upon your face

Though rivers tinged with blood may flow
Onward brothers, onward go
What lies ahead you cannot know
In brotherhood entrust your soul

And when the battle’s spent and won
We’ll lay to rest our bravest sons
Let their honor be widely known
For not all of them will make it home

 

Song of the Freedom Fighter


Image

(In honor of the freedom fighters of Libya)

I have followed the path of freedom
to the shores of virtue and tolerance.
The soles of my feet have been cut
upon the jagged stones of liberty.
My children have been laid to rest
in the fertile fields of Sha’biya,
Their martyred and angelic souls
whisper “Marhaba!” to a new
generation of patriots.
A soft, warm wind caresses this
new and reborn Libya, and amidst the glad
music of my ancestors we dance
to the songs of larks and the twitterings
of sparrows.
I finally realize, I am home.

Our Youngest Patriots


A boy watches men dig graves for future casualties of Syria's civil conflict, at Sheikh Saeed cemetery in Azaz city

The price of freedom comes not cheap;

it’s why the village women weep.

Sweet daughters and our native sons

lie dead beneath setting sun.

They gave their lives that we might live;

no greater gift could children give.

Old age will never call their names,

nor will they play their childhood games

For Allah has gathered to His chest

these angels here we lay to rest.

Sons of Syria


Oh sons of Tremseh and Houla,
who dared to rattle your shackles
in freedom’s quest,
In sweet repose now lay wrapped
beneath the silken sheets
upon your mother’s breast.
Into the Sunni soil,
with prayers kissed upon your silent lips,
and sleep until Allah’s sweet chorus
lifts you even unto Heaven.

Our Story


Death in Syria, collapse in Greece,
fires in Colorado, famine in the Sudan,
tornados in Missouri; murder in Norway:
the list is endless.

Where are the uplifting stories?
Where are the tales of human heroism
that lift us beyond our everyday blues ,
the stories that reveal the true range
of human experience?

Are we the shackled prisoners of a media
obsessed with the belief that the only thing
that sells is grief and despair?

To overcome evil, we must be vigilant
about the abuses we humans bestow upon one another,
and stalwart against the forces of nature.

We cannot stick our head in a bucket of flowers
and hope that things get better.

We need inspiration.

We need stories of triumph and victory.

We need to imagine and create.

Our imagination is a book of inspiration;
On its pages are found the stories of shared love,
creativity, hope, and universal promise.

Ours is the story of lives imperceptibly bound.

Where then is our hope?

It is found in our children, our future,
a new generation moving out into
and experiencing their worlds.

It is found in the creative outpouring of strangers
ever reminding us that the true nature of humanity
is to seek higher ground and to share with one another
the voice of our inner genius.

It is found in the artistic,

the storytellers,

and the spiritual.

The stories that diminish us will one day
be supplanted by those that lift us up.,
for ours is a story of the capacity to love,
to overcome,
and we shall, as one,
persevere.

Opposite Sides of the Same Pain


A Sunni mother silently watches:
overhead, a gathering of scavenging ravens
paints the dusky sky
above the broken bodies of her three children.
Bewilderment mixed with horror and beauty,
accented by the pebbles beneath her feet,
polished smooth by a flood of tears.
An acrid wind swirls
with scattered hope and broken dreams;
confetti raining on freshly scorched earth.
Another womb is rent in unbearable grief
at the loss of its precious fruit.

In that very moment, across the sea,
a Haitian waif reflects:
a flock of seagulls angrily position
above the ghetto garbage heap,
next to crumbling shanty
where her newborn triplets scream with hunger.
Bewilderment mixed with horror and beauty,
the waste beneath her feet glistens
with the flood of her tears.
The stench of rotting wind swirls
with scattered hope and broken dreams;
flies rising up from quaked earth.
Another womb is rent in unbearable grief
at the bounty of its damnable fruit.

Vengeance


Into the rain and clapping thunder
Sends God His vengeful deadly host
To  see His children torn asunder
For Father, Son, and Holy Ghost 

Throughout the night, and sure the road
Iron hooves clip steady shoreward
And more the rattling of the swords
Their sharpened tips now pointing forward 

In fearless form astride their steads
into pitched battle thrown
Ride Death and Justice gallantly
Slicing meat from bone 

Upon each hamlet, rape and pillage
Man offered up for Heaven’s plunder
While screams ascend from every village
And babies slain in wide eyed wonder

No mercy shown unto this throng
Nor sympathy bestowed
While Justice seeks to right a wrong
Death collects what God is owed. 

Before their blades a thousand fall
Ten thousand more now pave the street
Into the sea are driven all
This sacrilege is now complete 

And as the surf coughs up her dead
Death and Justice sheath their blades
The golden sands now blood-soaked red
Belie this savage Godly raid.

Revenge exacts its costly measure
Exhausted homeward ride the two
They fight not for acclaim or treasure
But falsely for what’s “right” and “true”

Fight, My Brothers


Fight, my brothers, boys to men
And if you fall, to God ascend
Swear your oath on bended knee
Take up your march to victory
Do not fear to be laid low
Each hero has his story told
Depart my brothers, on lifted tide
We’ll right this wrong, or else we die.

For every decent thing within
Come we upon who lives depend
Into the fray we march and send
The boldest and the best of men

Though weary, faint, and sore afraid
Through cold of morning, heat of day
We cannot take another way
Our path is clear, we’ve naught to say

Cross mountains high and valleys low
In starlight bathed and moonbeams glow
With every bone and sinew bowed
For every oath and debt we owe

Into the night and far beyond
Cross fiery fields, o’er foggy ponds
Our path is clear, so brothers bond
Take up your arms and carry on.

Our time has come to march this road
For each of us to bear the load
To sacrifice what’s been bestowed
To ante up a measure owed

To live and die with equal grace
We must unite and leave this place
Of comfort, warmth, I’ll plead my case
Prepare all hope to lay to waste

A new and evil day emerges
Full of hate and dreadful scourges
Sing loud and full your deathly dirges
Be stout of heart, your song, it purges

Take solace in the devil’s charm
And when in doubt a haughty song
Lift up your eyes and carry on
Steadfast into the setting sun.

Fight my brothers, with heads held high
Anything less and we all die
In battle pitch our freedom lies
We have no time to sympathize

With shoulders broad take up your arms
The threat before must be disarmed
Quick, step into the fog of harm
So those we love may carry on

And do not wince or flee this place
A coward’s doubt is his disgrace
Be true to your brothers, and stay this place
For yours is not to throw this race

Be brave sure, be quick in pace
March beyond this arduous space
Laid low by arrows, bow and mace
Each death revealed upon your face

Though rivers tinged with blood may flow
Onward brothers, onward go
What lies ahead we do not know
In brotherhood entrust your soul.

And when the battle’s spent and won
And lay to rest their broken bones
Let their honor be widely known.
With brothers slain you return home