Caitie, don’t ever touch fire, Dad said.
He lit a match and explained to her that fire burned.
Scottie, don’t ever tough fire, Mom said.
She lit a match and brought it to her cigarette.
Fire is only for adults, Caitie.
If our house is on fire, you need to run out and call 911.
Don’t try to put the fire out with water.
If you’re on fire: stop, drop, and roll.
Scottie waited until Mom left the room.
He took a match from her purse and lit it.
He held it between his fingers to watch it burn.
Caitie waited until Dad left the room.
She took a match from the table where Dad had left the box.
She lit the match and held it between her fingers as she watched it burn.
The match burned all the way to his fingers.
Fire was HOT
Scottie dropped the match onto the rug.
He stared at the flames as they rose.
He was too afraid to run tell Mom.
But then he noticed that he was on fire.
Flames shot up from his shirt.
Mom ran into the room.
She rolled Scottie in a blanket to smother the flames.
She grabbed baby Brian.
They ran outside and watched the apartment complex burn to the ground.
The match burned all the way to Caitie’s fingers.
She dropped it on the carpet when it burned a blister onto her finger.
A small flame started to burn on the carpet.
Dad had just told her how dangerous fire was.
Why had she taken a match when he told her not to?
She ran to the kitchen and filled a small cup with water.
She ran back to the living room and poured the water on the flaming carpet.
She repeated this several times before the small fire was out.
There was a burn the size of her hand on the brown carpet and a wet spot from the water.
Dad would know she had disobeyed him.
She ran to the kitchen and grabbed a dishrag to soak up the water.
She tried to snip the burned area out of the carpet with her scissors.
But when Dad saw the burn on her finger,
I told you not to play with fire, Caitie.
I’m sorry, Dad.
I love all of your children regardless of worth,
Who see nothing of your unlovely woe,
Who know nothing yet startle see,
The end of true democracy,
Thy reign of terror,
Slowly consuming all social liberty,
Till freedom sought, political anarchy,
Another puppet coming to power,
But this time in conservative media shower,
With this juncture they steal again?
With false wars and wrong directions,
Rob our nation of rights inviolate,
Our purse and independence lost,
Squandered and lining the pigs pockets,
Yet day after day Christ’s die on the barricades,
Fighting for the OLD American cause,
Yet always ignored,
Simply waves knocking against an iron clad battleship,
They roll away beaten and unnoticed,
Who bought these ships?
The medias view is on the top!
Aiming down the barrel of the gun,
Focused on the “chosen” one,
Who they will shoot to the top,
God help us.
Even the prophets are lost.
Let them rise,
Speak truth to these helpless,
Grow The United States of Understanding.
Heaven knows we need it,
And Hell awaits us if we don’t.
You can identify your own flaws by scrutinizing strangers.
I watched a woman
from across a platform
at the subway station:
Straight, dishwater-blonde hair
glimmering in the subterranean fluorescence;
a dancer's figure—
and a thrifty ensemble that bespoke good taste
in spite of budgetary constrictions.
She pulled a circular compact from her purse
the way people in films exhume a pack of cigarettes.
Then, in deliberate fashion,
she removed a pill and swallowed it.
Birth control is like receiving a governor's pardon
in the process of planning a crime.
I resent her having that kind of indemnity.
I pass judgment on assumptions of character,
high on the blissful soapbox of bigotry.
As that pill crested the ridges of her teeth
and met the soft tissue of her tongue, then esophagus,
my mind conjured a phantasmagoria of lewd images
on the surrounding subway walls--
more a reflection of my character
i love you even when you are stressed,
when your lips purse into a pout
i love you even when you are sick,
and your body aches
i promise to make you tomato soup
and give you back massages
most of all,
I will remind you I love you
no matter how scared you are
I will keep reminding you
I love you with my being,
words and actions