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They lie spread across
bloodied battlefields
with the fallen and
The Nephilim of old.
Swords caught on bone,
sheilds that cover
against the heat of
liminal hellish landscapes
still within sight of the
large golden gates
behind which sit,
on impossible throwns
surrounded by hosts of
horrifying misshapen
monsters of eldritch
origin and madness born,
The Father and Son
and the third ethereal
component which completes
in some small but huge
and mysterious way.
Among the carnage stands
our hero, his sword turned
so the dullest part faces
toward the legion he
stares down, his shield
strapped to the bleeding
useless arm hanging
limp by his side.
His cape ***** behind
him in some breeze
which brings no relief,
it seems impossibly long
and so too does his shadow.
And look, o' sons and daughters
in the darkest part of
his shadow we are huddled
against the noise and the heat.
Between us and the bitter
finish our hero digs his
feet into the dark, dusty ground.
His countenance grave
but determined. His brow
a tight triangle, his lips
a small drawn line,
his eyes narrowed.
We desire his victory
but expect his defeat
and we know we will
both be safe and also
tell his story, regardless
of the outcome, because
of the time he's providing.
But that should he lose
should he fall in his attempt
we will love him
for all of time.
Stand tall, sons and daughters
but know always that
the hero, our hero,
he shakes, ever so slightly.
His eyes are set
and grim but they are
glossy with tears he'll
never be allowed to shed.
He stands amid death
and consigns himself
for us but he still
must die alone
and afraid.
But then, o' sons and daughters
so do we all.
Fog still clings to
the dips and valleys
on the battlegrounds
of my fathers.
Sirens still echo off
the late-night faces
of the tenement buildings
in countries where my
last name was first uttered.
Since before man walked
this planet the rivers wound
through desert stone and left
deep furrows of earth
behind them and they will
when once more man
doesn't walk this planet.

Hear as history calls us
from chambers of our
minds and we are brought
back to scope.
We are forever made small
by the billions of footsteps
that walked this path smooth
before us.

Innovate! I dare you!
**** your heroes
by replacing them
or live a solitary life
forgotten by history!
Perhaps that's too humble
but when I sit by the ocean
and look out on
Eliot's mermaids
I know deep down
that history will one
day be forgotten, too.
Remember, the heroes call,
no one is forever.
We all, one day, bleed
all the blood we'll
ever bleed.

In the heaving metal
and mortar monster
of my home, in the winter,
steam pours out into
the cold and ignoble air
from man holes and vents
in the sidewalk.
The stream of hot human
refuse so very much
warmer than the heavy
eastern seaboard air.
And there is beauty in
the impermanence of it.
There is wonder in
the brevity.

Yesterday was today
and not long away
is tomorrow, soon to
be long ago and forgotten
but there is blood
in the soil of the
ancient battlefields,
relativistically speaking.

Nothing is immortal.
Nothing is forever.
Maybe this is a reason
to look at your legacy
and really try.
Maybe it's an excuse
to be as happy as
you can be before
slipping into obscurity
when you die.
He fell asleep for the
final time surrounded by
three generations of
loved ones and friends.
He had planned, before
the accident, to run some
errands and get to the
bank the next morning.
He'd written it down in
his ratty old day planner.
For years his oldest grandson
would struggle to decide
if the great old man had
gotten the semi-mythical
Happy Ending
or if his unfinished banking
chore proved there was
no such thing.

Bury me in concrete
so I can't claw my way out.
When it's over I wanna
be finished and done
but I'll probably always
need help sitting still.

I could while away infinity
in the stone cask in
which I will be interred,
what a word, what a day.
I suppose I'll wait to hear
someone undoing my works
so I might begin, gamely,
to spin in place.

Should I be awake when
it's over, when it all ends
I don't know if I'll want people,
family and friends,
to surround me or not.
I don't know if that's
The Happy Ending
and I have given it much
great thought.

I do my banking online, now.
Thousands of years from
right ******* now
they'll find us decorated
in the 21st century version
of hundreds of fox teeth
strung together on lines of
hair and they'll speculate
our importance to the tribe.
They won't know our
sharing of posts about
out of state listings for
our jobs making more money
with more paid time off.
They won't care that we
often got home the afternoon
of the day following the
morning we left for work
and in this way they'll resemble
best from our point of view
the folks who employ us.
Will crypts be discovered
hewn deep into the living rock
of our dying Earth or will we
have to find our dead through
the thousands of lines of
scrolling text that we
leave behind us when we go?
And if so...
What is the value of human life?
The price point, as econ 101
would have asked me to
specify, to be immaculate in my
words. Allow for this
question to haunt us all:
How much?
How many crumpled
peices of cloth infused paper
with numbers printed on them
for the sanctity missing?
In dollars, what is the cost
of a human soul?
Sure, once in the past, it was invaluable
but late stage capitalism
has taught us some
new lessons and I'll bet
it's got a value now.
I'll bet its dropped already.
And he'll measure his freedom
in fractions of an hour
and wonder all the time
if the average person
the same one that spends
more time with coworkers
than family and friends
also dies unhappy or
at the very least unfulfilled
and if so if the average person
is on average unhappy
for the average length of
their lives are we, on average,
doing something very wrong?

And he'll learn to budget in
the age of autodeductions as
common bill pay procedure.
As if some company storing
his banking information is
a convenience rather than
a glaring imposition.
His personal life is on sale
at the cost of retweets and likes
but as long as people are watching
he'll be able to pretend
he's not so ******* alone.

And the weather will change
and the oceans will rise
and fall and spring may
disappear and summer may reign.
And he'll be the last generation
that remembers how it was
and he'll wonder how the
youth around him can take
so much of it for granted.
He'll wonder how they can
find it all so normal.

My grandfathers were born
in villages in other countries.
Their first homes had no toilets.
They were young orphans
on American streets, once.
When my father was born no
single man had been to the moon.
When I was born school shootings
were unheard of and most homes
had no computer and a landline.

I wonder how he'll be.
I hope he'll be okay.
And he will, even though.
We always seem to be.
But still...

...I wonder all the time.
Your judgement rains down
like machinegun fire,
but I grew up in a viperpit
full of violence and ire.
You wonder why I'm distant
but I was raised under attack.
Struck down in the moments
before you swore you'd be back.

You want to share credit
for my accomplishments but
where even were you?
What claim has your absence
on these things that I do?
I made myself from your ashes
like some backwards phoenix
worried at all times of the you
inside my double helix.
I went booming across the midwest
chasing the Thunderbird
and nuclear aftershocks.
Hoping any moment to be stirred
to freedom by these mythical hawks.

I was awoken
consiserably broken
and while I've done work
glass just don't uncrack
and there's **** from which
we just can't come back.
I don't know what to say
don't know who to tell.
I'm sorry, Pavlov
but we can't unring that bell.

I love you.
I always will
I've tried not to
and here we are. Still.
You watched them turn
me into this horrible closed off
monster shaped man
and then demanded explanations
for why I am what I am.
I've not got it all fixed
but I'm trying.
I've got a past to escape
and the cracks aren't uncracked
but they are traced in painter's tape.
I'm gonna be better
I'm gonna likely die trying.
And the credit will be all mine
in spite of your lying.

I wanted more but here's
what I've got.
I want to be whole and normal
but ******* it, I'm not.
You weren't there to teach
or to provide or to even try.
I wasn't worth staying for
and I still don't know why.
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