Yes, you can go near "them"
and talk to "them"
and be nice to "them"
and, god forbid, treat "them" like they're human.
Surely, you aren't stupid enough to think,
that crazy is contagious
and that insanity is catching.
Well if you're not,
why are you acting as though they are plagued?
Why are you calling those people,
who are just like you and me,
"them" as if they're from another planet?
Wherever he went the visitor left a note
A small one, barely a centimetre long,
Beneath a glass or jug, on which he wrote
The same incomprehensible song.
Oh yes! It made no sense. Not a bit.
Which is why he left it
The town became used to his fleeting presence
A joke, a laugh, a drink, then gone
It didn’t matter that he made no sense
Or that his odour, also left behind, was so wrong.
It didn’t matter one little bit;
Which is why he did it.
He floated in with the sunshine and dust
Not by the door. They quickly forgot what he looked like,
His name, if he possessed one; precise objects of his lust;
The tone of his voice; whether his build was heavy or light,
He had no substance or distinguishing features
In the usual manner of such invisible creatures.
He left only a memory, flaky as rust
The half-remembered shades of those with diminishing sight
The first kiss, a balloon that goes bust,
The unseen hand that turns out the light.
Like aging, he unravelled each mind, stitch by stitch,
An accident waiting to happen, disease, misfortune or glitch.
If he visits, struggle to recall something
When he’s gone. He will take part of you with him.
Changes will be rung, sans mind, soul, sans everything,
Disposed of through time, fate or whim.
He freely comes, unrecognised
Unnamed, unknown, unexorcised.
A girl of thirteen or fourteen, sickly and pale,
carries water from the well. Her brother is
dying. He is six months old. The girl (whose
hair is red, looking boldly like fire in the afternoon
sun, and whose eyes are the grain and the rain
and the river) is aware that her days, too, may be
few. It is a secret she keeps from her mother:
the ache she feels with every movement, every
movement the lifting of the tremendous weight
that is her skeletal body; her fever; the poems
she has left out on her dresser so that a part of
her may remain with the world when she is
this modern nation is a quick read,
a stolen glance at a cue card -
a political pitch to the preoccupied
and a script for the social-scene-complacent -
cues are confused for cures
but you can't fix what's damaging itself
with every mindless media post;
sound the laugh track
and drown the issues.
criticize the bare human face,
watch, revere the irreverent -
celebrities paint a new mask,
become a vaudevillian magazine ad
and we can't stand ourselves as we are;
copy plastic faces, calm the nerves.
maybe it's vanity
or maybe it's a way to ignore
the person wearing the mask
because the blank face underneath
the oil-paint faux beauty
reminds us too much of what we've become;
only the faceless need to paint one on.
spin the truth so it tastes sweet
and acquiesce, swallow it down,
take it with a dose of the relatable
and some self-medicated doubt
while the paper we crave digs our graves.
it's all fake but it's safe
so we accept our reality,
overjoyed that we hide so well together.
but the youth thrives on boundaries
like they're fences that need jumping
and they get caught up in this world
that doesn't hesitate
to spit hatred at the innocent
and dismantle plans for peace.
too young, they're painting new faces,
facing the famed like they're gods,
shaping themselves in the image they see.
classic literature is laid to rot
in the corner of a room
lit only by a computer screen
and all we do is watch,
watch the flies collect,
follow the moths and maggots,
drawn to light and the smell of decay.
Across lands of verdure and light, water and men,
Walked a young Lowyatar, and fear she induced,
Turned clouded and opaque, the arid sky,
As she blindly and slowly walked on and on and on- by and by,
Blackened promontories rose in seas around,
To the north, the west, the east and the south,
What her dry fingers touched deprived of life itself.
Blind daughter of death; blind daughter of Tuoni,
Sister in blood of Lemminkäinen's killer, sister of Tuoen Poika.
Unloved and untouched, Lowyatar weeped and searched,
Abandoned by her death-bringing family.
From cracked and dried and distraught lips she cried,
"Ukko, O Ukko, save me from myself, I beg of thee,
With what's left of my life, my passion, my love
I know only pain I know only death, I see nothing.
O Ukko, I wander hither and thither, northward and westward
O Ukko, I wander thither and hither, southward and eastward
Searching for acceptance and vivid color and life.
O Ukko, save me from myself and my name!"
Lonely is the young girl, priestess of plague, goddess of famine,
Alone for life, her eyes blurred with salt and water,
A twitch in a corner of her mouth, another twitch.
Love thyself, and thyself can achieve greatness,
Greatness through experience, through knowledge prior.
Yellowed and ground teeth emerge behind cracked lips,
Lowyatar, goddess of plague, whispers to Ukko,
"Ukko O Ukko, I have motive and purpose,"
An old oak tree withered and turned grey at her fingertips,
Towns, once merry and full of love, died as she passed them by.
Wars waged on, fighting for what's left of love and light,
Death of brothers and fathers, feeding the mighty Tursas,
Born again from the scent of blood on the dry ground,
Who rose from the dying sea to feed upon the victims war.
Across lands bereft of verdure, dead and broken,
Men and women and children sobbed in Lowyatar's wake,
Men and women and children bowed in Lowyatar's presence.
Lowyatar stood triumphant over dying lands,
Once a sobbing child, now queen of the earth,
Pale face hidden by black and matted hair,
She opened her eyes to see the world for the first time,
Across her face twitched a smile, then with a laugh she says:
"So created. So destroyed. Behold, god I am!"