Sunday, June 21, 2009

Book of Days

Chapter 706,125

How do we love a place

back to life

that has no hope

A mother’s tears

are insufficient

to quench

the fire of rage

within the breasts

of young men

stoked by “No”

on every horizon

lip and closed door

They may not be able

to pass the state mandated

graduation exam

but they are damned

smart enough

to add 2 and 2

and come up with

all roads lead back

to square one

all highways end

in bridges to nowhere

The seduction of TV shows

with beautiful people

beautiful cars and

beautiful lives

is Hollywood ordained

mass masturbation

You can get off

but you can’t get outta here

Self dignity requires

looking into mirrors

that offer a reflection

rather than a void

Like the Aymara

you look ahead

and see the past

look over your shoulder

and see the future

Chapter 718,601

Saved by the doomed souls

of flight 93

they walk secure corridors

with self-assurance

gushing soundbites

ephemeral as the exhalation

of a naked child’s last gasp

on the plains of Africa

rushing to meetings

less important than

a drink of clean water

planning to rush

aid to millions

oppressed by ayatollahs

suppressed by pompadoured dictators

distressed by broken treaties

built on broken ancestors’ dreams

Where is the volcano

and the ritual

to mark the sacrifice

of innocents

Chapter 720,020

Living below sea level

brings a possibility

of drowning

a present danger

of flooding

a knowledge

of being overlooked

transfused via umbilical cord

Home is not where the heart is

It’s a four-letter epithet

a threat to sanity

a dream




a glyph amidst the tags

graffiti artists spray

to claim lordship of the night

Jazzy dance steps

morph into


over bridges

through streets

to Uncle Sam’s house

of horrors

We never promised

it would be good

we never promised anything

Hey, can’t you people

take a joke


Hope is the last refuge

of the sacrificed

the last light before

the end of days

Hope beats in the hooves

of the last unicorn

in the wings

of the metamorphosed larva

Hope fragile as a flower

slips silently through new snow

face turned to the eastern morn

In the end we are all children

of the great mother in the sky

into whose lap we climb

to slumber

until Love calls us

into Life


Ann said...

wow. thanks.

Laurie Gudim and Rosean Amaral said...

This is really powerful, well-crafted, and beautiful. I love the end stanzas in each chapter. They are images I'll take with me and meditate on. Mirrors. Sacrifice. Promises. Thanks, Lelanda!


Thank you for reading the poem and your comments, Laurie. Orson Scott Card talks about "speakers for the dead," and I think of the need for human events to have their own speakers.