It’s here in these early morning nighttime silences under shadows of abandoned office buildings— solitary light in the window, computer screens waiting to be wakened; in the silent shudders of trees and passing cyclists; here in the promise of the day that we must come to terms with the howling cries of death and hunger.
And I have seen a future of abandoned corporate office parks. I have seen parking lots deserted save for staggered cars parked with windows busted and garbage bag taped over. It is there that I have seen a future wherein the word hope has been replaced by neighbor. Longing, by community.
Where the sun-rise from the west behind thread-bare quilted blanket lies the bosom of a new day.
Hope pervades in all things. There is hope that things will work out the way we want, hope that things will be different. There is hope in the satiating of addiction and hope that the cravings will end.
Sometime overnight a black van parked on the side of the road outside of work.
With the hood up they stumble in and out of the side door. A vacuum of silence howling from within. They sit in the front seats under phone glow and frosted windows.
Before the morning’s light a man scrambles under and around the front bumper, back and forth, then back into the van. A battery charger lies on the ground under the van. Inside the cab of the van a lighter flickers.
In a few days time you’ll show up for work and the van is gone, in its place scattered needles and trash. Off to continue the search.
—If hope is an ever available commodity, why then is it so valued?
Falling and flailing, it seems wildly, but, in fact its what we’re programmed to do when we’re falling. I can feel the jet streams taking me, not unlike a leaf. I was in the clouds, but now I’m falling and the mantra in my head: trust the ground. This happens every time I’m falling like this. And just when it feels like I’ll be falling forever the ground reaches out and takes me from the air. Like getting smacked in the back of the head. I am absorbed into her, I am her, and then filtered through her. This is when the ground becomes the clouds and I’m dangling with my head in my new set of clouds, waiting to fall again.
Everyone was having a good time. Enjoying their food and drinks and conversations. Then the millennials walked in. Slouching and staring intently into the universes contained in each others eyes. Ordered only appetizers. Fed each other ranch slathered carrot sticks. And sucked everyone else into their vacuum of self-centeredness.
Words — We have enough words, but have we got enough people willing to listen. To really listen. It’s easy enough to write them, easy enough to put them out there, but are we even listening. I’m trying. I’m really trying to read your words as if they were mine. When you read do you read just to consume more? I do that too. When you read are you rushing? Same. Maybe we should go back to writing on stone tablets so we can realize how precious these words really are. I’m trying, I’m really trying. How many of us read with care? Read someone else’s poem as if it was your own. Everybody’s writing, but who’s listening. If not you, who?
travelers stand next to 9-5’ers who line the sidewalk, street-side no parking ’til 9 a.m. Music thunders out of the caffè. One couple chats while they wait, everyone else has noses in screens; trying not to be seen; the starlings flutter near the curb. One brave soul, tempted and cautious, hops under the two-person table to steal a crumb. The homeless man, with matted brown ribbons of hair shuffles down the line audaciously looking, or trying to look, the patrons in the eye. From somewhere inside a name is shouted over the music out onto the street, but no one lifts their head. And the homeless man keeps shuffling down the street, empty handed.
The most unusual cries are reverberating into the atmosphere, bouncing from concrete walls to traffic sounds. Part loon, part howl; indistinct, yet through it a thought pierces the surface. . . people are. And it wasn’t exactly a thought thought in words as much as a collage of images, maybe a montage of sorts. In a nanosecond; people are. Here we exist together in this, whatever it is. This life we’ve made for ourselves. We are a part of this nature. We are to commerce as the crow is to songbird. And now I’m thinking that these cries are thoughts too. And I’m having a hard time distinguishing the inside from the out.
Feast— Could be a stagnant, sunny day; could be soaked and drizzling. Along a row of dumpsters the crows hang out on the truss-work just above. Behind them, in the broad-leafed maple (leaves white with fungus, and crispy-brown singed edges) dozens of crows fly in and out, back and forth. Of the crows that have taken an interest in the trash, one will fly in, or on, a dumpster and poke around. Usually within a matter of seconds another decides to hop down, then three and four, and soon, the whole bunch of them are scared off as the fifth flies too close to the group for comfort. They all scatter to the chain-link fencing, or the cinder containing wall. Up in the trusses, one brave newcomer, tempted soul that he is, will decide to hop down and try his luck —and the pattern begins all over again. When a seagull takes an interest, he becomes king of the dumpster, and has his way with the trash of his choosing. The crows move around, cautiously, waiting their turn. Some, in a fit of aggression, peck and haw, but it is clearly an attempt to get out their frustration at the seagull, still having his way. It is certainly a feast, but the crows don’t seem to know this. To them it is always in the balance, always on the verge of being taken away. Somewhere— between the margins— there is a poem; O industrious crow, has it always been that we humans make such a heap of waste? Where then would you feast?
He’s walking along the sidewalk -headed up the hill- carrying his backpack on both shoulders. His springy hair, like the willow tree across the street, hangs over his face. His face hangs over his phone.