by Darryl Price
The sad march goes on. It stretches endlessly over an eternity
of painful hills, as unnatural as lumps under the skin, into
the deserted broken streets, the forgotten unprotected alleyways, always adding more
and more lost children to its sickening sticky mess. Every now
and then you can see a pair of bright eyes staring
out of the rolling emptiness like chipped stars, but they're soon
covered up with more dirt and debris. The sad march goes
on. If only I could forget. What's the point? It will
never let go of them again. Their tiny fingers will never
grasp anything happy, and you think this is okay because they
don't look like you? They are not even wearing anything like
shoes you can easily identify as being somewhat in the civilized
category. They are little more than a foaming pack of muddied
wolves. They will sink their stinking teeth into anything not nailed
down. It's your duty to resist them, and it's my duty
to resist you. The sad march goes on. They are the
first ones to fall as you ride over any leaf stupid
enough to grow in your smashing way. It doesn't have to
be couched in a pretty lie. The sad march goes on.
It doesn't have to be said, but it might as well
be-- because we are trying to build something out of hope
here. For you all time has stopped at your doorstep. For
you all time is in its proper place, on a wall,
in a drawer, to be used only to cash in someone
else's future for another cheap deposit on your ever-present situation in
the fabulous golden garden. For you all time is yours to
rob repeatedly. The sad march goes on. But my concern is
not with you. It is with them. There must be some
way to free them from your traditional trap. That's what I'm
looking for. The right words. The right inflection of the meaning.
A sign. Don't worry. We'll find it. Meanwhile the sad march
continues to be their very bad philosophy. It's a way that
always causes more harm than good, but the pay is pretty
fine for a government job. All you must do is let
them replace your eyes with something less observant and more obedient.
The sad march goes on. It's killed better poets than me.
Poems have disappeared into shadow over night. It does no good
to pretend. The sad march goes on. They will stoop to
the ground and beyond just to deny your existence if it
gets in the way of counting the next batch of money.
So, what? Tell your brain to stop its crying. We've got
something for free that they are always trying to get, but
that can't be purchased. Step yourself into the light, brother. Remember
what makes you glad, sister. The sad march goes on. It
doesn't get any easier, but neither does it get less important.
The sad march goes on. Do what you can. Do what
you must. Do what you like. That's what they can't figure
out. It makes no sense. They are baffled by the branches
of the poem. Their lust sees only flowers. We see sky.
Here in the Poisoned World
it's always the age of
the coward. Here in the
poisoned mind the mourning
of a young President
is our popular sin,
our nostalgia. Here
in the poisoned winds the
toxic feelings of loss
become grand illusion,
our best card trick. Here in
the poisoned world we fly
our flags at half-mast now
before thinking of why.
Here in the poisoned mind
we elect a king in
the sky before a man
in the street. Here in the
poisoned winds we pretend
not to notice the stench
coming from the ovens.
In the poisoned world, we
accept marching orders
with smart salutes and no
back talk, no poetry.
Inside the poisoned mind
we reason with dueling
televisions. In the
choking winds, we cough with
our hands in the air. Here
in the poisoned world, we
must sit on our dreams and
never need to share them.
The poisoned mind's afraid
to be alone.Poisoned
birds sing without a sound.
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