don’t be the hopeless man

don’t smile like christ when
the first spike is driven home

this is different, is meant to be beautiful,
a nation of whores, yes, but also
a place to hide in it

a house on the verge of falling down

not the poem but the poet and
the poetry lover and
one of them dead and one of them stoned

one of us caught in the
path of oncoming traffic

not a great nation, obviously, and
not even the promise of it,
but listen

your mother’s going to die of cancer
no matter what

your oldest son runs away,
your youngest just disappears

the war continues
despite the false king’s promise

children and babies slaughtered in
the name of gold, and then whatever elected
vultures line up to rape the corpses, and
can you come out of this clean?

of course not

we are all blind,
we are all broken, but
i remember being in love

i remember walking through fire

listening to the killing moon all night long
and i understood it

i became it

a simple metamorphosis into
transient beauty,
but then i grew up

then i was the hopeless man

looked in the mirror some
burned-out february morning and
saw i was no longer needed

saw i was
the end of the story

Photo by Michael Cole