Don’t You Diagnose Me

You know, so much of what we’re sold is happy horseshit
designed to soften our resistance to a lie:
that you are where you are because that’s right where you belong,
and your life will all get better, bye and bye.

Once you’ve swallowed that first dose, the rest don’t matter;
they’ve got you hooked on the sedation of their choice.
Big business, and the government, the churches do it too;
each one has their own soft, seductive voice.

But sometimes lately in the wee hours of the morning,
in that stretch of dawn before the nurse rolls through
I’ve found myself awake, and thinking its a big mistake
to let the system get its greedy hooks in you.

And If in the name of normalcy, you’ve got to play the part
of the blissful happy fool, then I refuse.
Just because I choose to see the glass sometimes as far from full,
Doctor, don’t you diagnose me with the blues

22 DEC 2006

By Faith Alone

Religion is not the enemy; it is just a tool
employed by those who would control
and those who seek to rule
by any means to make it seem
as if this world is just a dream.

It’s not great evil or great good;
it does exactly as it should,
considering why it was made:
to keep in silence, and afraid
to challenge why the poor remain
and their hard lives
are filled with pain.

For if this world’s a proving ground,
it should be so for all;
instead, it’s playground for the rich,
and workhouse for the small
who’re told that they’ll inherit
the whole next world, in due time.
And the powerful are happy
as long as each week, in long lines,
their labor force goes willingly
to hear how they should wish
for more of the short end of the stick
and fill the offering dish.

To know is to have learned it,
and by use, to understand.
To believe is just to claim to know,
by learning second-hand.
But faith is more: believing
in the absence of all facts,
or when facts contradict belief
or are against it stacked.

And that’s the tool religions use
to subjugate the throng:
convincing you something is true
when sense tells you it’s wrong,
belittling your lack of faith
when you express some doubt
that those in power should be there
and you should be left out.

19 MAY 2006

Your Right

for Merle Haggard

I’m an easy-going guy as far as that’s concerned
I tend to only simmer where another fellow burns
Let live and go on living is the lesson that I’ve learned
I only ask for the same in return

Some fellows look for reasons to get into fights
They claim its just protection of their natural rights
But that’s no call to start a brawl near every night
When I’m trying to relax and just get tight

You’re free to exercise your right to party
You’re free to get real loud and cause a scene
You’re free to get attention by stating your intention
To go through life big, ugly, dumb and mean

This country was built in the name of freedom
and to protect it, I will come to blows
Your rights mean something to me,
but don’t bring ’em too close to me, ’cause
your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.

I’m patriotic, and I’ll wave the flag now and again
My country’s enemies are mine, and its friends are my friends
But there’s a way that breaks, and one that merely bends,
and it looks like you’ve confused them once again.

You’re free to exercise your right to party
You’re free to get real loud and cause a scene
You’re free to get attention by stating your intention
To go through life big, ugly, dumb and mean

This country was built in the name of freedom
and to protect it, I will come to blows
Your rights mean something to me,
but don’t bring ’em too close to me, ’cause
your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.

16 JAN 2006

Death of a Circus Lion

His speech was almost poetry;
I say almost, because to claim
such subtle acts of sophistry
as conscious art is to enflame
the ire of critics, who exist
with their sole purpose to decry
encroachment on their world as lies,
and play the constant pessimist.

The world’s not ready, they proclaim,
for such a mix of show and tell;
for movements that defy a name.
The vanity of hope won’t sell
a single copy on the coasts.
Besides, a voice we cannot tell
“be silent” is quite mad; to boast
its worthiness despite our well
intentioned praise, or degradation,
seems to smack of heresy.
I ask you, in this situation,
would you dare let such things be?

In these and other ways, more sly,
the world prefers its genius mute;
no small surprise that you and I
give up such goals as our pursuit,
and gambol, as if without care,
through life without a moment’s thought
to who built our cage bars just there,
or for what purpose we were caught.

25 JUL 2005

Against a Greater Evil Than the Dark

I do not fear what terror comes by night
and would with malice trouble fitful sleep;
such bugaboos may cause a moment’s fright,
but fade in cowardice as daylight creeps.

More brazen ne’er-do-wells parade by day,
and mask their ill intent with angels’ tread;
it is such foes as these, that seek to prey
on those awake, yet unaware, I dread.

A winning smile may hide an evil heart,
and artful praise so sway the doubting mind
that where truth ends and outright lying starts
would take a trusting soul lifetimes to find.

Too often, those who harbor foul design
use some imagined pretense to impose
their will, and lay their claim to me and mine.
They are like wolves who dress in lambswool clothes,

and in broad light of noon steal with a pen
or briefcase what no midnight thief would dare,
proclaiming all the while to be a friend.
Against such brigands, too few are prepared.

As teachers, senators or men of god
they pry into the storerooms of the crowd;
with words of velvet, hide their iron rods
well-used to beat down those who protest loud.

Foul hypocrites! Your speeches that divide
the poor crowd’s reason from its tender soul,
reveal you have no meaning left inside
save for your selfish need to wield control.

If you would speak my piece, or use my name
to justify your actions or your cause
and then when failure looms, leave me the blame,
do not expect from me grateful applause.

You will condemn me, should I speak my mind,
or cause one hapless stray to doubt your means;
Regardless, I will point out where I find
your acts a danger to my truth, or dreams.

15 MAR 2005

Immersion

How long have I been down, immersed,
a Dunker left beneath the wave
whose new birth was to wash away
my meaningless and lost before?

And whose strong hands upon my head
still hold me under, when they swore
to offer help and kind support?
I recognize those hands,
that seemed so weak and hesitant
to grip my own in fellowship
when both of us were dry, and I
not gasping, weakly, for some air.

I see that smile refracted through
the water now between us;
and somehow, those straight even teeth
are now misshapen, ugly fangs.

Now waterlogged, with burning lungs,
I wonder: were you too baptized,
and left, a mewling helpless babe
dependent on some unseen lord?

Or like me, did the wash not stop,
while weak-kneed saints, unsatisfied
with their own empty, whitewashed space
poured into you their excess bleach
and took upon themselves the chore
of monitor and supreme judge,
in firm belief that what they heard
in whispered voices was their God?

Along some rough Damascus road
a Pharisee believed
the voice that spoke to be the Lord.
Perhaps he was deceived.

07 FEB 2005