MACHISMO

He was fond of saying
that men need to toughen up,
show more fortitude, take
time for serious male bonding.

He would prattle on about
how so many men were
not true men anymore,
warped by modern society.

I tried my best to avoid him,
to quickly end our encounters and
when I could not, for he would
inevitably complain of loneliness.

Still, I would much rather be
in the kitchen, knives in hand
preparing a fine meal beside
the woman I so deeply love.

GREAT DIVIDE

The truck, a white Ford F-150
with oversized tires was parked
on the lawn next to the small
parking lot, filling quickly as people
arrived for the community market.

There was a giant flag fixed
to the bed of the truck, unavoidable
flapping in the breeze,
“Let’s Go Brandon,” and everyone
knew the message all too well.

Some averted their eyes, a few
smiled, and as many gave
the well known one finger salute,
aware that they ought not hate
the hater, but unable not do do so.

Colors, blue, red, purple cease
to matter in the face of such a blatant,
almost rabid effort that can only
widen the rift that is slowly tearing
our civilized society apart.

BASHO, REDUX

This poem was recently published in the first issue of a new journal, Punt Volat.  You can find it here:

https://puntvolatlit.com/issues/winter-2019


If Basho were here today,
in this America, at this time,

stop briefly and consider what
he might write, how he would

describe the faces of parents
mourning children gunned down

in random urban violence,
the asylum seeker, praying

at the border for entry, for hope,
the homeless woman curled

in a ball in her cardboard home
in an alley no one visits, no one

sees even in the full light of day,
the school children practicing

active shooter drills, while
learning to recite the alphabet.

sitting zazen, I
see one thousand cranes crying.
Their river bathes me.