A poem: Bombs in the Basement, by Gary Lindorff

Recent poem by my father, featured on the political activist site Counterpunch.org:

Bombs in the Basement
by Gary Lindorff

Today my toast looks like Christ,

like planet earth,

like Venus

like me in a dinosaur-proof suit,

bristling with spikes

that I invented when I was afraid to fall asleep.

But I don’t have time for visions. Christ,

I don’t have time for anything!

Bombs in the basement. That’s for the NSA.

A toast to the NSA!

(Lift up your cups, your mugs, comrades!)

The NSA keeps us mad.

Mad as a Hatter.

Without madness I just start

thinking about whether I flossed last night.

I can’t tell you what I’m really thinking.

But it’s whispering.

(I tell spirit in the stone-people’s lodge, I

sweat out truths that are so far beyond

anything I can put to words.

Sometimes sweat speaks louder than words.)

I wish I trusted my instincts!

Damn this

buzzing in my head. Can’t

think clearly. Want a revolution.

You too?

(My toast wants a revolution!)

I’m a Vietnam peace-veteran. And

so much more. They took my childhood,

my youth, my old age.

(Next life I’m going to

get ‘em back.) They took my father’s soul for

Christ’s sake. . .He was a Marine. . .

But he got it back before he died.

I was there. He got it back!

Bombs, bombs, I mean Buddha

in the basement.

Good morning NSA.

It’s a metaphor, you idiots. You literalists.

It’s code for, you guys should get out more.

This whole piece of toast is looking like Snowden now

who looks like Christ, by the way,

who looks like you and me and Buddha

flossing under the Bodhi tree,

who looks like Snowden.

Dear Snowden,

It snowed yesterday.

And I still have gardens to put to bed. . .

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A Poem : I don’t think I can stand, by Gary Lindorff

I don’t think I can stand
By Gary Lindorff

I don’t think I can stand another disappointment.
I’m weak,
Weakened by disappointment.
So I’m watching from the outside
To see if you can weed out the free-loaders,
The addicts, the bandstanders, the ones who abandon old dogs in the alley
Before I show up with my clean white beard
To tell you a few true imperfect stories,
To make my pitch for endurance,
To believe in you
To cast my eyes up to the tower tops
And down down to the basements of Mother Earth
Where the ants are gathering for the coming storm.
You know the apples in the great barrels are all rotten
But we’re fasting anyway.
The jailor is perplexed.
His job is to feed us
And he hasn’t noticed that the walls are dissolving.
Soon he will be free as well.
So please, please
Don’t disappoint us.
When you tell what happened, to your grandchildren
You will say, those white beards came
And the ants, from deep down in the Earth fed us
When we were sleeping,
Dropping little grains of sweetness between our lips.
Dreams came,
Towers fell,
Little children sang
and sang
and sang. . .

Originally posted on Dave Lindorff’s political activist website, This Can’t Be Happening.
Gary Lindorff, the author of this poem, can be reached at maleotter [at] gmail.com
Artwork by me, which was posted on this site in another post, so will not be duplicated here.

A Poem : Conscience, by Gary Lindorff

DSC_0315_this cant be happeningConscience
By Gary Lindorff

I am coming –
Made of stardust
And the dust that escapes from vacuum-cleaner bags.
I am blowing.
I am rushed and roaring
Like a waterfall
Coming straight at you,
Pushing ghosts out of my way. . .
I am spitting out the taste of middle-age,
Hacking out the nutrasweet of misspent youth.
A little manic,
A little frantic,
A little righteous. . .
I have been lied to,
Cheated and abused
But none of that has molded me.
I am coming for myself,
For you,
For my mother and father.
I am like a thing of light
Stepping out of a chainmail
Of dead cells
And scales the color of fog.
I am like a mega-fauna
Crashing out of the wilderness.
Blazing my own way,
Snapping branches as I come.
I am American
And I should be dead,
Extinct and broken. . .
Oh yes, forgotten too.
I have been drafted and flogged
Pissed on and denied,
Forced to commit atrocities. . .
My feet are bare and bleeding.
I walk gingerly
For the sacred ground is bruised
And bleeding too!
Trembling I am coming.
Awed by my own existence,
I tell you, I have been summoned!
I have no choice
But still I am glad.
I am coming fast!
I am coming strong and loud.
Just know this –
I am not turning around.
I am not going away.
Coming is my vision.
Announce me.
Give me work.
Make me welcome.

Originally posted on Dave Lindorff’s political activist website, This Can’t Be Happening.
Gary Lindorff, the author of this poem, can be reached at maleotter [at] gmail.com
Artwork by me.

A Poem : 2012 / Shit !

2012 / Shit !
By Gary Lindorff

I approached him at the party

Because I didn’t know anyone,

Because he looked harmless,

Because he stood alone,

And I introduced myself.

I said,

You must know a lot of these people,

And he looked straight ahead and said,

All my friends live underground.

And then I realized that he was almost dead,

And I had the idiotic notion that I could help him.

But then he looked right at me

And it hit me that I too was almost dead,

That nobody knew anybody here,

And that he was the only one who could stand the truth.

So I left,

Passing through rooms full of people,

Through the mudroom,

The ice-room,

The wind-room,

Out onto the sidewalk.

And I just started walking,

Following the angling streets

Breathing in the sour breath

Of an exhausted planet,

Trying to remember how to live.

 

Posted at thiscantbehappening.net
Image, as always, by Evan Lindorff-Ellery.

A Poem : From Vermont / Listening to Michael Nyman – Bell Set #1, by Gary Lindorff

From Vermont / Listening to Michael Nyman – Bell Set #1
By Gary Lindorff

What will we do when the gates go up?

Here is the dream:  Consumers with money. A virtual middle class.
Cash and stuff. Jobs and cash. Benefits!  Security.

Is there any way out?

Is it too late?
The lights go out. Nobody can find the switch.
Something as simple as a light switch and everything shifts.
Panic.

Dreams are amazing.
Everyone has the same dream. Think of that.

By linear time we have already reached the end.

What kind of history are we weaving?

If you ask the weather man,
After you have plied him with a few more drinks,
He will say,
We are making it easy for him . . .

Something about creation and prediction converging
In an open-ended season of 500-year storms.

The rivers, amnesiac,
Recovering from Irene,
Have conveniently forgotten
How they consumed their beds,
Swept gentle farms away,
Pushed huge trees to the brink
Of hydroelectric dams.

In the waterfalls I sometimes hear
The caterwauling and moaning and pining of the wild beasts.

When the gates went up
In malls across Turtle Island,
Consumers flooded through,
Tore into sales racks and displays . . .
But they weren’t buying.
They were just mad.

Were you mad, Grandpa?
(Muted gong, tinkling chimes . . . )
Ting, knnng, knnng, Ting . . . Mbronnggg!

—–
Posted at thiscantbehappening.net

A Poem : Weak Bridge Ahead, Gary Lindorff

This is a poem my father wrote after the terrible flooding we experienced in Southern Vermont, which displaced many houses, innumerable bridges and roads, and washed out pastures, immense vegetable crops, and farms.
Even if certain crops weren’t completely washed away, some are considered unavailable for harvesting because of possible contamination the swelled rivers may have carried.

Anyway, this poem was was written before the Brooklyn Bridge protests were making headlines, and the synchronicity is inescapable.

Please also see international journalist Dave Lindorff’s excellent activist website.

Weak Bridge Ahead
By Gary Lindorff

Look at that sign.

Shall we take our chances?

I wonder how many people turn around here, you say.

You can’t always trust signs.
They might have fixed the bridge
And forgot to remove the sign. . .

That is very unlikely, you say.
Look for omens
Just to be on the safe side.

Like what?

A sudden gust of wind,
Funny looking cloud,
Bird reversing its direction,
Listen to the song that’s playing on the radio
For clues –

“Stop me on the corner. . .
but who am I to tell you
where it’s ‘sposed to go. . .”

Maybe all the bridges are weak
Around here.

Try everywhere, you say.

Visualize safe crossing.

You say you picture us driving into a breach!
How come we haven’t passed anybody
going the other way?

Probably nothing to worry about.
We can’t let one measly sign
Turn us around.

The future is across that bridge, you say resignedly.
. . .But what if the future is behind us.

If we shy from crossing
We’re just driving scared
And maybe, as you say, there are no safe bridges anymore.
This may be a rare honest sign.
. . .And, you know, I feel as though I’ve
Been here before.
But I was younger then.
Not so desperate.

Now you’re with me, you say.

I want to get to a place
Where people care about each other.

And they tend gardens, you say,
And they know what it means
To wake up in the morning with a dream.

Lately I’ve noticed that all the new bridges
Cross to places where everything is brittle, or falling apart.

Including the bridges, you say.

That would be funny if
The weak bridge wasn’t coming into sight.

I gun it.