Deep End (Poem)

Another day, another heavily rhythmic poem exploring the themes I find most frustrating in the current national debates. We need conversations; not yelling matches. We need understanding; not “agree to disagree.” The longer this goes on (and it’s already been going on for quite a long time), the farther we’ll get into the:

Deep End

We have enough villains
without making more
or pretending that facts
like rich or poor
can define
whether you, I, or them
have any value in this system.
Stop and listen–
or don’t, frankly I don’t care–
I’m writing this to keep
from drowning in air
on the rich oxygen filling
each lung to bursting.
You know the worst thing?
Conversation cures all
but you won’t have one,
short of more rage
you refuse the salve.
Gun in hand,
you proclaim
this your age of freedom
but I think you know
that’s sad.
One question:
what if you didn’t talk down
to people unlike you,
unsubscribed to the false truths,
and left your comments in your head
rather than anywhere
the future’s soothsayers will see and judge?
I prefer words I can see and touch:
the ones still dangling with emotion
like a tooth pulled hard and soon.
But the way you talk…
I can’t tell if anything
means something
or nothing.
Hell, you could offer me everything,
and I still think you’d be a liar.
The fire you’re burning
ran out of fuel
long ago,
short of the shit you’re piling
made from the gruel of easy falsehoods
you want to be true.
I get where you’re going,
or at least where you’d like to,
a safe place unified against
those unlike you:
strawmen and snowmen and costumes
rigged on mannequins
to usher in again
some illusion that safety
comes to those who fortify,
but you can’t deny
that richness in life
comes in the variety
of mes, yous, and thems;
the colors of eyes
that can smile
in every language,
tongue,
and tribe.
Even you celebrate the sight
of family, but real kinship
comes from knowledge,
not blood,
and in the quiet,
I think you know
we all share the same blood anyway.
So concede your way–
screaming or not–
but know that concession’s
the only end of this rodeo.
Your bull ran out of muscle
back before I ever took breath
and only artificial ties
keep its limbs hustling
and lithe in death.
I’m not saying your voice doesn’t matter,
far from it;
most can’t hear a thing
over your clattering demands,
but we want to talk, not prattle
or battle in petty words
that, by next week, won’t stand
for much besides a waste of time.
Here’s the line–
an offering of communion,
bonding over bodies broken,
to take up this token of friendship
not brinksmanship
because loose lips sink,
you know where I’m going.
So get rowing.
This ain’t the Delaware,
and God knows we don’t have a captain
yet out there
to stand at the bow,
but still we start now.
You take one oar,
we the other,
and together
maybe
we can keep this boat from spinning
until we sink
because if we fail,
no one will get the chance
to swim.

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