Dance in the River of Dreams

 

Time makes a short necktie

Don’t let it be a noose

Choose your partner carefully

To dance the river heart away

Rhythms cook like gumbo

Spicy as it goes down

Dance in the river of dreams

Don’t catalog those nightmares

They belong to the devil

Not to hoochie-koochie mama

Working to be brave

Dance with courage

The conviction of your footsteps

Beating on bathroom walls

Spiritual graffiti feel it

Between the scrawls

So dance little tango

Make like butterfly wings

Samba to your eccentricity

Salsa your mind from the mundane

There is nothing vanilla

About the river

Its flavor destined Milky Way

Moon so close it burns the night

Your smile beckons

Come hither light

Dance little tango

Dance the river of dreams

 

Castaways

 

I listen to your search

for ancestral music

the rhythms that

make your heart dance.

 

The sound

removes the scar tissue

from my forehead

rules of transcendence

etched into the soul.

 

This is not a guitar

that your spirit plays

it is the bones of

your childhood

singing for freedom.

 

And I come to you

on these shabby knees

awaiting your charm.

 

Ivory Addiction

 

It is you mother

who has

mistaken my bones

for my heart

thinking that

breaks can heal

if you treat them

and place them

in a cast

suspending

isolating.

 

Crippled by ivory addiction

my heart still breaks

my limbs are no longer

protected by truth

it has not set me

free.

 

Instead I

remain encompassed

in these ivory chains

a free spirit no more.

 

I am waiting for my body

to disinherit me

so I can cast my fate

to indifferent winds

and purge the foolhardy

from the steps of anal deployment

a missile crisis in mockery

that you wear like a cheap suit

stolen from vaudeville vestiges

that clamor at your heart.

 

Yes it is you mother that

chambered my life

with soliloquy

and mocked my birth

with death like chants

as you and your friends

cheered for revenge.

 

It is time to take stock of

this broth you concocted

and savor the nectar

of retribution.

 

Yes it is you mother

who wore disguise every Halloween

so we would not know

who doled out treats.

 

You beat on my dreams

with an Instamatic camera

hoping to capture

whatever I lost in my childhood.

 

Caravan to Nowhere

 

Once they were through

processing the women

girls no bigger than your thumb

tiny girls looking for work

and a way out

not so smart girls

and brilliant girls

young women

really

but more like

girls

they were put to work.

 

They were promised

the big time

the show

how they could

make lots of money

be famous

drink whiskey

and drive

huge automobiles.

 

They wanted

that western

fame & fortune

thing

more than they wanted

life

so they were put to work

sacrificing

everything

getting nothing.

 

They danced

with the merry-men

sang them songs

and did other things

that were not to their

heart’s delight

nor any other

part of them.

 

The freedom

the life

they had before

was no more

there is a difference

between

a hard life

and one

that is cruel

tainted with the taste

of metal

and the feel

of barbwire.

 

All because of the

Promise

when they

climbed into that van

scampered on to that boat

leaped into the abyss

of poisoned pledge

of fatuous riches

and private glory.

 

They found themselves

puppets of subjugation

slaves of the 21st century

landlocked captivity

without escape

—Bondage

a caravan to nowhere.

 

Some say they are gullible

some say they are naive

whatever they are

they are no more

ground into human

snowflakes

precipitating the heat

that destroys them

dispersed with the wind

they wished

the caravan had wings.

 

Rifles

 

Rifles are not made

for 10 year old hands

 

Nor triggers for

10 years old fingers

 

Pistols are too

damn heavy

 

Dynamite fits

neatly in backpacks

 

Making

human bombs

 

Another childhood

memory …

 

Wearing Tragedy

 

Her face is painted the color of heartbreak.

She wears the tragedy of mothers of dead children.

She dresses in the color of mothers of the lost.

Milk spills from her full breasts.

She is nondenominational.

 

Emptiness

 

the chair sits

empty

alone

four legs

gripping the floor

 

The Children of Terezin

 

When I visited Camp Terezin

the children called to me

they left ethereal homes

dropped blankets

and held out their tiny hands

for me to lift them up

and hold them close.

 

I hugged every one of them

as they told me

of Terezin and how

their fairy-tales kept them

alive until story time was over.

 

I hugged every one of them

as they told me how

they painted pictures

with their fingers

dipped in their mothers’ blood.

 

I hugged every one of them

as they sang songs

and told me nursery rhymes.

 

I hugged every one of them

as they told me about

the playground of graves

how they played hopscotch

over tombstones

and ring around a rosey

was truth

 

ashes ashes

all fall down

 

only when they fell down

they never got up.

 

I hugged every one of them

even the lost soul

who crossed himself

like a gentile

when he cried.

 

I hugged every one of them

because the children of Terezin

no longer wait for their mothers

to call them home.

 

Today they have been set free.

 

Anthem

 

Listen closely

you can still hear the sound

of the third Reich marching

 

Listen as

boots jackhammer

across pavements and boardrooms

 

Listen as

crowds shout in streets

as terror rises from

asphalt paved with bones

 

Listen as

Hitler’s screams

rise from the tombs

hear the death rattle

 

Sieg Heil

(jackhammer boots march on asphalt)

 

Sieg Heil

(arms goose step)

 

Sieg Heil

(boots click heels)

 

Sieg Heil

(arms shoot up)

 

Sieg Heil

(boots click heels)

 

—There is challenge to the darkness

as serenity forms

and understanding

no longer takes

a back seat.

 

Grief stricken relatives

should no longer hold hands

they should shun excuses

and build fists

of understanding

as

 

one being stands up

then another

and another…

 

L’Chaim

(arms pump fists)

 

L’Chaim

(arms never waver)

 

L’Chaim

(we never give up)

 

L’Chaim

L’Chaim

L’Chaim

 

In The Fray is a nonprofit staffed by volunteers. If you liked this piece, could you please donate $10?