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Frank DeRose Oct 12
What a grey, cloudy day
          It is.
Somber reflections of evanescent tidepools
          Flit by my mind’s eye.
“Be water”—
          Bruce Lee never saw a tsunami, it seems.
And in time ashy skies give way,
          And part their ethereal barriers such
          that Light might shine.
This ceaseless cycle of ourobouros
          Consumes each day.
And still I wander,
          Lonely as a cloud,
Betwixt the Earth and Sky.
          Forever beholden

Between

                      Here

   And


                                                There..
Frank DeRose Jan 8
The friends I make on my daily commute
Are not friends, really.
I don't know them.

But I could, couldn't I?
The mom with a nose ring and cool sunglasses,
Who absentmindedly scratches her cheek,
Flashing her wedding ring,
Blinding with the sun's glare
Rings familiar.

She could be my neighbor
Or my coworker
Or my sister's best friend's older sister.
I wouldn't know.

The man in the van
That reads AJ & Sons
Who also checks his phone at a red light--
He could be my plumber,
Or my next random drinking partner at a bar.

I don't know them.
But I could.
We cross hundreds of paths every day,
Thousands, tens of thousands in a year.

We are not alone.
We are strangers and not-strangers
Hurtling through space and time all the time.

Racing for money, notoriety, happiness,
Racing simultaneously towards and away from death.

We are one and the same
We are none and neither.

Are we?
Frank DeRose Jan 8
There's a special kind of love
In the shared communion of common experience--
In the joy of knowing that this person, too
Gets it.

"It" being the unholy,
The divine,
The understanding of the fleeting moment.

There's a special kind of love
in sending that article you thought they'd find interesting,
or that song lyric you heard in the subway that reminded you of them.

There's love in the familiar
In the vestigial memories that haunt us
On the outskirts of our daily lives.

You were here, too.
You breathe this air, too.
You know me, too.

In Zulu, one greets another with
"Sawubona."
"I see you."

And the response--
"Ngikhona."
"I am here."

Recognition ignites existence.
I see you.
You are here.
Frank DeRose Jan 8
A stranger asked me about my political beliefs--
only, I misheard her,
thought she'd said political beefs.

So I thought I'd serve them to her
to digest
or chew on
at her leisure.

And thus I outlined the stakes--
sorry, I mean--
I set down the steaks:

Beef number one,
served well done,
tough:
the Right claims to uphold the sanctity of life,
but won't spend any money to care for it.
How leathery!
How tasteless!

Beef number two,
mid-well:
served the way they leave kids
grey and hardly pink,
starving.
Meanwhile, they turn away the drowning,
and while tears fill children's eyes,
They advocate war.

What insanity!
What sanctity?

Beef number three,
medium:
served pink and with some juice,
like bodies putrefying,
but they don't care because they're
lying,
stupefying their base--
all the while children dying--
do different colors not belong to the same human race?

Beef number four,
served medium-rare:
tenderly, but not totally rawly,
they take Pride
in blacking out the colors of the rainbow,
suffocating black lives,
subverting their skin,
bruising it
Black and Blue.
Cries of "I can't breathe" choked short,
because
Blue lives matter?

Beef number five,
rare--
served juicy and bleeding,
heart still
beating:

America claims she is the land of opportunity--
claims all men are born in equal trees

Sorry--
claims equality--
I misheard Her.

Because all I see,
are inequal trees:
crooked branches,
stunted growth.

So much depends
Upon
who cares for them?
What soil they root in?
What color leaves they bear...


Who cares?

Sorry,
I mean...

Who dares?
Frank DeRose Jan 2019
My father shows definite signs of toxic masculinity.
Always with the "man up" or "toughen up"
I think he was afraid I was too sensitive.

When I was a kid, he told me it was okay to cry.

Then I guess I cried too much.
And it was no longer okay.

I learned to swallow my emotions,
Pills so big I thought I would choke.
My voice caught,
My feelings were strangled.

I learned, too, to listen and observe him more.
Yes, there was the homophobia,
There the unmistakable reek of feared emasculation,
The lines about how certain things were "effeminate,"
Including things like the way I sat,
Or wore my long hair,
In my own home, no less.

I don't think he thinks me very manly.

Never mind my compassion, loyalty, or steadfast, stubborn nature.

I've learned not to care so much what he thinks,
Though the very act of not caring hurts.
I'd like to be able to share who I am with him,
But I think he disapproves who I am,
The way I choose to live.

Never mind I am straight,
Though it would be no excuse if I were not.

Never mind I have a beard,
Though it would be no excuse if I were clean-shaven.

Never mind any of the qualities that I am,
Any of the things I am proud of,
Any of the reasons I call myself man.

To him, I am not masculine.
That knowledge sears like razor burn,
Leaves scarred tracts of pain and resentment.

Doth a man not bleed?
I suppose not.
Frank DeRose Jan 2019
Fingers fly
Across frenzied
Digitized, pixelized
Screams of glass.

A wireless connection,
Tethered and coupled to the
Hub.

Invisible shackles of changing generations
Keep chain gangs huddled from afar
Shuffling along parallel mortal coils,
Always transcribed and shared--
The space grows discrete whenever they should meet

Minds meld into OneGroup in cyberspace,
And OneGroup is terrifying
A hive of electric
Like-minded
Echoing
Shouts through the void

At desks and lunch tables and in classrooms and prison cells
Mouths are shut and eyes are downcast
Pixels bloom to life and fill the torpid state.

OneGroup reigns supreme.

Here and there free minds swim between the endless threads
Evading the silken spider's web of OneGroup

Likely, though,
They are doomed.

Just as humans once reigned supreme atop the food chain,
So too,
Now,

Does OneGroup

OneGroupForever

ThereHasOnlyBeenOneGroup

ThereWillOnl­yEverBeOneGroup

OneGroup
OneGroup
OneGroup
OneGroup

OneGroup.
Frank DeRose Nov 2018
If I could name Alzheimer's,
Give him a face,
I think I would call him the Thief.

But the Thief does not come in the night;
He is not afraid of the day.

He will ruin your cherished traditions,
Your favorite pastimes.
He will spit on the spirit of your memories,
Then take them, too.

The Thief will take everything
But love and faith
The Thief cannot touch those;
They burn and overwhelm him.

The Thief will attack,
Vicious and biting.
He will lure his victim into a steady routine,
And strike if his victim strays from it.
And in the lulls, he will sap a little more
strength
A little more
vibrancy
A little more

Life.

But still, love and faith remain.
They are humanity's last defense,
Her greatest triumph.

When these are all that is left,
The Thief will depart.

He is a parasite,
But the host will be of no further use to him.

He will return the shell,
The empty house,
And he will move on.

And love and faith will remain.
Love and faith will fill the rooms.
They will bring light where there was none.
Friends and family will remember all they had before the Thief,
Lament their losses, of course, but comfort in all they shared.

The Thief wins more than he deserves,
But he does not win total victories;
Small triumphs remain--
A smile,
A laugh,
The occasional yes or no.
The flicker of light that says 'I still remember. I'm still here.'

The Thief cannot take these things.
They are provided with love,
By love,
For the beloved.

Still,
I would not wish the Thief on my own worst enemy.
I would not want to see him so wracked,
His family so torn.

Even though love wins,
The Thief takes entirely too much.

His victims forget,
And we are left to forge..
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