Diesel (workshopped)

(Sorry for reposting, but this is probably my first workshopped poem. If not ever, at least in 30 years, I like where it ended up)

Italy to Lovejoy
breathe in;
fuel of work

rounding the corner
William to Bailey,
the sweet heavy cloud
of hauling

motors rumble like grampa
South Buffalo to Lackawanna
before the steel-mill
heart-attack took him

moving product to market
Nakuru, Nairobi to Mombasa
carrying me and once exotic fruit
to port and home

wheel spins center
Iron Island to East Aurora,
accelerate

© 2012-2014 Brian Brown-Cashdollar

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Diesel.OLD

breath in
fuel of work
rounding corner
William to Bailey
sweet heavy cloud
of hauling

Palermo to New York
Lackawanna to South Buffalo
Nakuru to Nairobi to Mombasa
Tibas to Los Yoses
Iron Island to East Aurora

motors rumble like grampa
before steel mill
heart-attack took him

moving product to market
carrying me and once exotic fruit
to port and home again

complete turn
wheel spins center
accelerate

 

© 2012-2014 Brian Brown-Cashdollar

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Poetic Warning

so few words
choose wisely
or else

© 2014 Brian Brown-Cashdollar

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Larger Beasts

components like atoms
fiction of matter
mimicking mass

power, bloodlines…
family

bond of love
attraction of desire
hold of responsibility
destruction by fear

forces: strong,
electromagnetic
gravitational
then weak

shared action
shared fruits
cells, organs, bodies,
families, communities,
nations &
world systems

from many
one

accumulation of particles
transfer of waves

I’m afraid to ask, but
can shackles be thrown
before karma is burned

© 2012-2014 Brian Brown-Cashdollar

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Stuck

rocking back and forth
it’s easy to mistake
movement for momentum

© 2014 Brian Brown-Cashdollar

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Movement

the arroyos in front
and back of my house
aren’t filled
by a flood of history

there is no desire
to break their banks
carve a new path
create a new order

streams and rivers change
when overwhelmed
by volume and force

The rains have come
reminding me
my view of revolution
has changed

the children tease:
men don’t sweep
nor scrub dishes
nor wash clothes
by hand in the river

I smile back
in my world they do,
or at least they can

victories are first won
snapping soapy cloth
between fists,
rinsing plates,
and coaxing dirt

I spend my mornings
sweeping out the wings
of flying, mating, dying insects
sweeping them out by the thousands
frustrated as they resist

caught up in currents of air
floating up and settling down
nearly where they began

wings – alas the children tell me
reminding me of the word for soul

floating up and settling down
nearly where they began

Years later
same rough hewn planks
same translucent wings

but instead of history’s
inevitable march,
alas, o almas perdidas,
I see the tumult of air

rather than the flutter of matter
I see conflict of gravity, inertia
the trajectory of energy
a sweeper moved by
the same thinly-veiled forces
insubstantial as the
membrane of rising
and falling wings

these termites pass instinct
through generations of young
moment to moment
life to life

each sweep
each flight and fall
backwards and forward
learning and relearning
finally, wings flutter into sunlight
out the door, settling into mud

so little has changed
I recognize their faces
in their sons & daughters
men with brooms & soap
no longer foreign
wives and girls working
zonas francas
maids in towns
o afuera
making-do is not the same
as overcoming

roaring torrents
a mass of humanity beyond breaking
a single life beyond control
or a violent rush of beginningless karma
I catch what’s left
of myself

it’s still about liberation, but
instead of the sweep of revolution
I see the movement of action and intention

I mind the breath and whisper
be determined, be patient, and finally be free.

© 1993-2014 Brian Brown-Cashdollar

 

Arroyo: Spanish for stream or dried stream

Alas: Spanish for wings.

Almas: Spanish for souls.

Zonas Francas: Free trade zones, where foreign companies can manufacture products, taking advantage of low wage markets at reduced rates of taxation.

Afuera: Spanish for “outside”. “Trabajo afuera” is often used as an expression for working out of the country.

Karma: Sanskrit for willful action. Here it refers to the momentum, or energy resulting from willful action that propels existence.

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Mistakes

shotgun in my face
          Wreck my fucking plants
         You wreck my fucking life
         I can kill you
         Boom, you’re fucking gone

sleeping
eyes open
maybe ten
startled
seeing
awake

terror transferred
my eyes to hers
she dropped the gun
I made her cry
what had I done

© 1999-2014 Brian Brown-Cashdollar

 

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