Hard plastic stocks sizzle and smoke, bullets spin, killers grin and then cry. Guns recoil, blood boils, moms want for their babies and the babies can muster no heroics for their fallen friends. Stupid death lies upon rural America.

Hunts ensue, justice stalking captures. Past bloody brick and faces weathered and sick a nation further numbed to its atrophy. It's what we never dream of and a concentrated form of what we ignore.

A mother's hands grips, like hell's gates, the shoulders of her son. Mascara's like the runny soot of the fire that burns behind her eyes. Her release leaves creases in his sweatshirt, and small shadows are cast across him in the low morning sun. Fear and paranoid relief will haunt her the rest of her days. A form of sorrow lies, collapsed, convusling in her sobs like no one is there; her insides are desolate, lonelier than she'd been this morning, a broken mother begs to be so lcuky as fear and paranoia. But her womb has been insulted, her livelihood ignored and shit upon by elements of arrogant power and evil. Mortality invited her here and she was given no option to decline.

Unbelieving fathers stand motionless, staring at and refusing to be moved by story tellers that must be lying. The most horrible lies. Lies about death and pain and terror. They degrade to silence and solitude; they hear only the most pitiful voices of motivation echo inside. Their pummeled hearts promise vengeance but their mind can neither reconcile desie to action nor stay the heart's cries enough to speak sense. How empty, and yet so congested, their lives have now become.

Our insides are reduced to personal chaos. Our inhibitions and aspirations mutually decay. We move to a place we feel necessary - a field where its only us, an expanse of tranquil independence that requires no outward focus and seems the only refuge from horror. Our spirit can't afford to care, the costs are too much.

And so parts of nearby worlds hurt more but we're hanging on to silent fields of peaceful grasses - bolt the doors, close the gates, shut the windows, no one enters our refuge. We are no longer wild but we are forever sheltered. Grandmas and grandpas and little sisters and nephews and uncles, cousins, moms, dads, and brothers thrash at our door with their tears and their questions and we wince and cry back and apologize so profusely while we fight to bolt and rebolt and bolt again the doors we've constructed. The world must not get in; it will bring its guns and its horror and its stupid death into our field. Our fileds would burn. So lets walk off these sidewalks. Leave the motionless form in the grass to cry for herself and her baby, forget the images now singed into hundreds of young minds. Retire to our fields to look at our synthetic sunsets, skies birds and vices.

The Trees are My Home

Close your eyes with me and enter my home.
The night is black soil smeared across the sky,
Our huts house the infant and old, fires burn throughout our village small.
And for the hundreds of missing children at dusk, there is no 'come home' call.

My young sister sleeps, her mouth propped open still,
Collapsed into my mother's breast,
My momther sways back and forth how I imagine an ocean's tides,
Content I lie across the dirt, feeling deepening dusk's persuasion appealing to tired eyes.

This is the bush, the land we call our home,
This hut belongs to us, my mother built it and smiled.
My sister sleeps soundly but my brother's become a ghost,
his stories live in me, he sleeps miles away, abandon buildings are his host.

Four fingers curl and lock around my arm, there is shouting,
A gun in my face, and my sister screams in young confusion.
Mother shrieks and hits the men, they raise their machetes high,
Her arms split as they bring them down, and they command me to rise.

Shoving against my back they spike me with their guns,
They lead me into chilly night air, where my mother's screams are ehcoed.
The neighbor woman is on her back and beating a man atop her,
She cries and curses and spits on him, she's calling him, a "robber".

Anger almost hides her tears and yet, the woman looks embarrassed,
Her face is writhing with pain and shame and I want to return to my home.
But these are the rebels, the armies in the trees, the legends that we fear,
They are the myths of lost sons and crazy men, and they're upon us now, they're here.

For hours I march and screams chase our backs from the village in which I belong,
Over roots of the jungle by the beasts we walk, I sulk and shiver and pray.
Memories of mother's stories of these men that worhip gore,
Are trumped by her sentence I nightmare about, "a devil commands this war."

I fear I'll meet him in the shadow of the bush,
And there no one will hear me cry.
No one but him as he whispers my sin upon which he'll make his judgment,
He'll steal my voice - never again will I hear - I'll be the example of his covenant.

Across my lips his many hands will bear their blades, and then they'll move to my ears.
His hands trace invisible crosses, his face is covered in solemnity.
"It's not me that executes atrocities," he spews, as my face begins to bleed,
And with a maniacal indoctrination, they tell me, I am 'at home amongst the trees'.

Armored Out of Will

Waking from a troubled sleep my eyes twitch open, and peer through two small holes. A smell like a damp cave floats into my nostrils, for a moment I forget where I am. A seize of panic, and as quickly as I awoke, I remember and relax. Many nightmares come to me and leave me convulsing and sweating frantically in my sleep, only, to finally wake me in a peak of duress and return me to a world devoid of contact; these senses atrophy and a slice of life is forsaken. It is not often that one's waking begets a desire to return to one's nightmare. My mouth is covered from the ecstasies of food, my lips crack like drought has set upon them, my nose only encounters my stale breath and my eyes have grown veined and bloody - over stressed as the single pair of ambassadors to the world that continues so elegantly outside my bitter cage. I wear a mask of stone. It is the armor I never asked for, the defense I wish, so badly, would fail. That it is upon me is all that matters, not the who nor the whey nor the when. But against delicacies like food and water, or the smells of my home, I weigh an obstinate desire to be kissed. I watch my lover float across our floor. Past the end of the bed she busies herself - aware that her fidelity emanates from her distraction; the former only possible through the latter. I call to her and in ideal and principle she is mine, but between us stretches an expanse of unknown - a grisly desert, filled with gruesome pictures of incomplete communication and forgotten passion. A land of decay has inherited every word I kept to myself - where there should have been embraces of confirmation lie mangled bones shaped to say, 'you missed your chance'. And with every opportunity I sent to its end, a piece of my mask was added. Quickly my mouth was taken - guarded in stone, barred and gated - never would I kiss her, or speak without a maddening echo. But soon the dirt and dust of the thieving stone accumulated on my cheeks and forehead. And just as quikcly as I came to know what it meant to rest my face against another's, I realized the toruture in taking that touch away. She would approach me, I'd follow her with my eyes. Onto the bed she let herself sit, nervously rubbing her fingers together at her side. In tattered confidence she placed her hand on my chest and leaned passed my face to brush her lips against my forehead in what many call, simply, "a kiss". Still, I followed her with my eyes but my mask broke my vision before she reached my face, she was nowhere that I could see and so I waited to feel her mouth upon me. but, nothing. Nothing became my motif. Her lips pursed against rock. Even as her tears fell toward my body and searched for the weclome of warm skin they crashed upon my stone fence; they slid and followed the molded outline of where my cheek should have been and finally ended, defeated, dissolving forgettably into the sheets. For a dangerous handful of seconds I let myself smell her - I let myelf breathe fully of what she offered by her presence. I intoxicated myself on the individualtiy that permeated her hair and skin. She smelt of praries of tall, green grass, stretched to their own infinities in a night time of summer frgrance. All the inhales of freedom that accompany humid nights under her starry skies were draped around her neck. And then, my cowardice began to harden it. Falling finally to the robber, my nose smelt nothing more of the summer that danced in and around her clothes. Upon entering a room or quickly passing by, her scent would masquerade about desperate dreamers like myself, flirting with opportunity - the time when I should have inhaled deeply and tasted her details - but I said little more than what writers of acquaintance would have me say, and finally, a smooth, hard masonry competed itself above my mouth and between my eyes. My mask had been built and now I only look. For that's all I have left myself to do. Into the mind this viral stone submerges to end forever a desire to be kissed. It seeks a place for disastrous, numbing architecture but, of course, walls to enclose an imagination do not so easily stay intact. And so I spend my days seeing, in want, the world which I cannot have, and wishing for walls that would seclude the part of me that wants it.

Nothing, Provocative

Perpetuate it. Provoke it. Bright computer lights, heavy high pitched screams, headaches, heartaches, little sleep. Pounding keys with fingers that hurl and stretching a brain to unhealthy lenghts. Cracked windows, a winter almost defeated by spring, entire moons smushed flat onto a puddle, dark grass, lonely breeze. Empty rooms, wurring fans, no music, no dialogue, no spotlight, no audience, I sit on an empty stage and even with me, it's still empty. Doors closing, distant men yelling, more men sleeping, sleep betrays the mind to untidy thoughts and dreams that scare us awake. A window wide open, a desire to road trip, smelly socks worn one more time cause laundry seemed too much. Fake white brick, enclosing me and now you. Lamps unalbe to perform their only function, speakers not allowed to do thers. Empty wallts, at-capacity back packs, cracked scratched cell phones, footsteps on pavement outside. The sound of wet, the smell of silence, sidewalks housing refugee worms. Disposable cups, disposable plates, disposable thoughts, disposable lives. Recycle. Reduce. Reuse. Brown bottles with little white capsules, synapsed cells awaiting white friends from brown bottles, blue cups proud of their potential to organize the reunion. Pictures worth crying over, memories trying to scale the blue cups, throwing ice cubes overboard to make room for friends, don't cry, don't remember. Little sleep, heartaches, headaches, heavy high pitched screams, bright computer lights. Provoke it. Perpetuate it.

Like Snowflakes for Hire

I look at you and you're talking, telling me you love me and this is why I should do this. But I'm tracing the lines that shadow your face, it's the fence of the football field, outside dancing with the street lights. I think the field must get lonely, it's hired the snow to lock us in tonight, and now these tiny powder mercenaries recklessly hurl themselves at our car, building walls of determination that, with my apologies, I'll crush without even knowing it. But that's not the point. You're talking. Telling me you love and that is why I should do this. But I can't, I can't abandon the brotherhood. Our first argument. Its snowing still Steph. Is this worth the argument? Probably not, we'd both agree on that, but neither of us would budge either. Kind of like snowflakes for hire. Ha, that's crazy, I know. We are white. But you tell me that so many people care, that it's a waste not to do something so simple. Logical, good work. But sometimes you have to just not care, and damn, that's dangerous. I'm a poet and I have no idea how I'm connected to the night, it just seems that a strap would get in the way. But you love me and that is why I should do this, you tell me. I love you too. But I love him, and he doesn't do it. We're like foolish brothers, idiotic really. Agreeing to a reason that doesn't exist. But look outside, I care too much sometimes. And then I have to make room for severe foolery. I am your fool, not your jester, but your idiot. You look good in the dark but I'm told that's a bad compiment. "Don't I look good in the light?" Touche. Ok, I'll give you the long and the short. On every part of your face touched by tthe path of a pasing shadow, I have found a bit of freedom. Shadows that crisscross your face and muster what little exitence they have to dilute the shine in your eyes, and though they fail, and oh how they fail, they compliment you in your seat next to me, unafraid of passing shadows and looking to embrace a message from the melodrama. Who knows what the snow and fences and shadows are thinking, surely they're holding the same conspiratory script, and their emotional montage is a display of divine presence. A condition of cars in the night, parked in random lots, where the human soul becomes an object of worship, or at least, great attention, and for once the cosmic comes to exonerate. Where the ideas of giants are glued like little rocking hula girls to the dashboard of our lives and while we sit and search for masquerading snowflakes, trying to hide the inevitably obvious fact that we're biting our lips fighting off questions that pry and beg for justification of such desperate measure, those monumental ideas become our audience, and sooner than later, turn undoubtedly, to nothing. Sometimes, the only humane thing to do is not care. Its like writing an entire piece with your eyes closed. Its like throwing yourself down a gravel road at sixty, eighty, a hundred miles an hour, with no belt, illogical and irresponsible. Its still snowing Steph. You're talking and you tell me you love and that is why I should do this. But I care too much, hold on, I need to pee. Yep, pee. I lean against the fence, peeing through the link, and I can feel clouds swirl above me. Man I love that. I'm peeing in front of a car, in public, onto a private lot, and I don't care. But its not enough, I still care too much Steph. So here, here's my shirt, and my shoes. My socks gotta stay too, I'm working on my belt, hold my pants, I'll be right back. These ideas equate to air, starve me of either and I suffocate. Hop the fence. Run down the hill. Fall in the mud. Laugh. Smile. Get dirty. "I don't get you". I don't get me. But you say you love me and that is why I should do this. I'm free again. Do you get it? I'm free again.