The Poverty of Myth

myth

Somehow, long before Campbell

I knew a truth though without a way of knowing it.

The power of a myth is its very poverty

to takeaway what is and replace it with a lie.

A myth is the lie that tells the lie

America is great: myth

America is Rich: lie

America is free: lie

America is brave: myth

America is a raping genocidal stepchild of all the bastard king and queen murderers of Europe:

Not a myth, not a lie

Myth: Native Americans lived in gentle peace before first contact

Africa was never exploited by people of color: lie

Asia is all beauty and tigers: myth

All the sins of the world do not forgive mine: not a lie

Joseph, the poverty overwhelms us, we starve and starving we kill and in killing we become rich, and being rich we become greedy, and greed is hunger, and in palaces we starve for riches, for rich myths of our beauty and glory and power and yet we die like ants to be swept away from the mound. In a few days our souls that do not exist decay like the rotting dead bodies we do not leave behind, but become. Our myth dies with our soul, our myth rots on the dung heap as hungry as the first day we knew we were starving.

 

-an open letter to Joseph Campbell

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Devices

Can openers

P-thirty-Eights

and otherwise,

radios

left to,

bastard files

left to me,

 

an adz and a broken

straight razor

of undetermined

destination.

 

Green ammo boxes

with eighty years

of non-weaponry,

six broken watches,

a small reel to reel,

 

the kodak,

with the bellows,

grandpas GI photo,

or an uncle.

He wasn’t in the war,

any of them.

 

Eighteen-eighty-six

I guess he missed the big one.

Nineteen-two, the other

grandpa missed, too.

We all missed the wars, my dad,

my brother, me

not one damn bit, either,

left to.

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The Red Chair

So much undone,

always,

I settle into

my wingback.

 

I try not to recall

the tax bill, dishes,

inspections,

editing, and still I

think of

responsibility for

dead parents.

 

I tire trying

not to think,

knowing I will

not succeed, organizing,

doing, nor not thinking

forty-two things

I should do.

 

Sick, I settle,

she finds something

easy to watch

I find relief in

parents passing

what doesn’t get

done remains.

 

I am

not dying

today.

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On a Table

Fish head, well body minus the meat, filleted, with the guts hanging about

scales, scraped and piled on the old boards, in the wet sand

where the ever slightly running, spigot drips.

And flies, sitting quietly on the intestines

buzzing up at a nearby motion

only to settle back again

to what I can guess,

eating remains

today the fish,

one of god’s

creatures

swam with

all the grace

and speed of nature,

rippling and sparkling

against, above, beneath,

and through the clear green-blue

intra-coastal waters just south of the

bridge built by Civilian Conservation Corps

at the beginning of the war that ended most

of all the wars of Europe, at least, as they struggled

to end the Great Depression, and yet, those men are

as dead as the glorious fish, and they were glorious, too.

He is surely supper, and a good one, too, if I were eating him.

They are only dead, with their wives and half their kids, not heroes,

only trying to keep from dying too soon, and maybe they did, but died

anyway, and the flies eat the entrails and the old men’s bones rot beneath.

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Sometimes California

Sometimes California

I was disappointed to find out while the characters more or less came over intact, the formatting did not. So I am posting these poems as pictures. I started to say I hope you can read them.

I would be surprised if there is a person on the planet who could actually read them. Not only because there is such a wide variety of languages and characters, but because by the time i finished, the words are no longer intact. if does say something, it is certainly not what i originally wrote in English and plugged into poor Google Translate.

Google is a pretty sad excuse for translation and sometimes it creates amusing mis-translates, but for my purposes, it worked perfectly!

This work, such as it is, was inspired by a Facebook post by my Bangladeshi friend Kazi Rahat. I hope he doesnt mind.

The Leftovers are literally the characters I have left over when i finished Sometimes California (due to the final shape, not particularly the content.)

 

Leftovers Iron Fence

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Sale/Trade

Trade: poetry
for hard work.
Yes,
 
folk think
writing poems hard,
I

dug ditches,
nailed roofs, Florida
sun,

even sold
used cars to
sailors.

Will trade
for hard work:
poetry.

 

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Jerusalem, the Gnat

Jerusalen the Gnat

 

The gnat,

strained at,

strained for,

and through

no strainer

find

 

the truth.

The whole world,

it seems,

spreads its tiny wings and flies,

but flies gather.

No tape I have.

 

Beastly flies upon

beast

and breast

and best

of all,

the milk,

and Jerusalem

stands

quietly at

her stanchion.

 

And no gnat

I find

just the sweep

of her gentle tail

to the west,

to the bank

to Gaza once more

I think.

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