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Elijah Bowen Apr 1
hate sings a love song,
blithe, pretty, little tune
in honor of its heritage.
hate sings sweetly, a song
of marches and hangings,
of ghettos and slavery
it hums admiration for its people.
it sings of this land.
the majestic peaks and playful meadows.
it sings, with love, of blood-drenched cotton and  
trenches adorned with crooked bodies.
it sings of its forefathers-  
the conquistadors and pioneers.
saintly butchers and child rapists.
hate paints it’s history holier than the Sistine Chapel,  
singing blindly like a hymn.

hate sings a love song,  
possessive and vicious.  
it scrawls the lyrics on
subway walls and sycamore trees.
it sings in symbols and metaphors,
accompanied by the beat of temple gunshots and kicks to the ribcage.
hate sings through the pulpit and the pew,
clipping it’s verses from a holy book,
it sways to the rhythm of “Amens” and “Hallelujahs”

hate breathes down my neck and yours,
knocking door to door,  
bearing music with a message,  
it weeds out the undesirables one by one.
for the greater good,
hate tortures children therapeutically,
and executes those presumed guilty.
it erases generations
in concrete rooms  
and in the bellies of ships.  
it explodes homes,
smashes panes of glass,
and burns every convenient symbolism.
hate roves and rages and spits and howls,
singing the song of a beautiful future.
Elijah Bowen Apr 1
I burn **** between my lips.
one by one.
******* them down with skill.
Skull to lungs,
ashes to ashes.
I am the smoke of myself that  
gathers deep inside
and prowls out, darkly
like faceless men at night
sunken in city pavement,  
pacing towards desire.
And so the word saunters and spirals,
clouding upwards
from my red hot tongue.
I watch it as it leaves me.
I lick my lips of the sting,
and ash drips on my shoe.
I take a deeper breath.
and look ahead.
perhaps smiling,
perhaps darkly.
As it twists itself into nothingness,
sinking headlong,  
like the private history that it is,
into the ignorant, pretty sky above.
The use of the word "***" here is, of course, meant to be a double-entendre. I swear I'm not British, nor do I have an affinity for cigarettes.  ;-)
Elijah Bowen Apr 1
the ******* claw at the bone-
their skull cap bastille,  
domed in like ants under a bowl,
whispering and itching,
searching for any crack or hole...
They are possessed.
and so they pulse like an enemy drum
Hostile and sonorous,
Pounding the mind with a beat.
Release, release, release...
My myriad, my
beautiful collection  
of muddled madmen, transients every one,
How clumsily they lust,  
and with sweet earnest,
for the lines of my notebook
or the empty air around my lips.
Some I swallow deep to still the frenzy,
Suffocating language in my stomach.
Others I concede to spill out into life,
I am indiscriminate.
watch the lucky ones stumble and run like blood,  
towards liberation by bated breath.
Elijah Bowen Apr 1
Here in America,
we improvise morgues
as needed.
in the cafeterias
or by the lockers,
near the ticket booths,
and at the altars.
We divvy up the dead.
Tally them
and report the number
like an answer.
13, 20, 49, 58, 6
Every death count
a timely national shock.
Almost as if  
our well-televised  
monthly tragedy
was ever anything less
than a game of roulette.
anything less than a matter of time
and time and time again.
Covering them each
with our bed sheets,
we try and stifle it.
Do our best to
staunch the the sights,
the noises,
(“just like chairs falling”)
the names
that keep bleeding out
onto our thoughts  
and tongues,
Far too much and
too often
not to choke on.

Here in America,
we’ve learned that  
horror is level-headed.
It is debatable.  
It is pangless.
It seeps, deep to the core,
perverting with a silent smile.
the steady, feverish dread
weaving itself into the mundane.
the “god help us”  
annulled by the
“respectfully disagreed”
the nightmare that lies  
always just underneath,
and just out of mind,
Until it insinuates itself
Again and again...

Here, in America
We line the bodies,
death slumped, and  
bled out on the pavement.
We arrange them-
Side by side.
Most are missing things-
a hat, a piece of face.
one shoe, a dulled pencil
(fill in C)
phones
buzzing on the ground
lit up with unread messages
(“Please call me”)
They are missing-
an upcoming  
7th birthday party,
(Star Wars themed)
They are missing-
their vacations.
their first dates.
their college applications.
job interviews.
kids.
fiancées.
Lined up lifeless,  
they are missing
far too many things  
to gather.
Elijah Bowen Apr 1
in this expanse,
painted sky dripping its
dinner-plate-scraped hues
of honey,
and pyramids.
I am breathing, alive,
filling my chest with
air sped past
delicious and addictive,
keeping my lungs drunk with these
gulps of a larger place.
untied, peering out
from above the road,
I open my arms.
let them course through
the quickly fading sights.
a myriad of life
spreading out
constantly
in every direction.
land that races
out hazily for
hundreds of miles, unfolding.
anonymous houses
and storefronts.
their distant windows
flare white light
metonymy
for those inside them.
orbs, wavering
they glow with
want,
and misery
and parties and days
and nights and
faces.
they glow,
whispering their
familiarity of
distant things.
I reach out,
grasping inanely,
for any of it
all of it
at once.
and like sand,
I let it sift through.
become my glimpse,
my smiling passerby.
A memory to be forgotten-
it shares a brief dance
with the wind, twirling,
silently lost in itself
for just
a few
breathless
moments.
before becoming truly lost
in everything else
beautiful that is
left behind.

— The End —