Break This Bottle

If I taxed my heart long enough to reach ninety-one
I’d run short of beats, I know, dumb idea, no matter.
I don’t need to map life that far
to be happy–
Still it’s good to know what’s out there before setting
a course for the Isle of Calamity—waves rise and fall

no gull flies too high on its own wings,
the fisher is the fish he kills– can we jettison
the heavy trumpery before it sends us on the bottom?

I swam through the eye of the divine hook, looked
In the barbed eye of God, found more elegant
than any claim to have it all,
the truth dancing
in the mind’s reticulum:
we walk like red rock crabs in kelpy water, sideways
proud of our shells, nothing close to straight forward

in spirit or speech, we swallow
too much of what we’re fed
by those who do not love us as we are
we dive, but not too deep, we swim, but not so fast
tread water in orange life jackets of belief
sharks cruising just below our feet

We feast and fatten on organic food if we can
whole-hormone-cage-free prey
produced like magic behind a screen
to spare us the sight of suffering
we cut the lamb’s throat with knives not our own
butter the gluten free bread and wash it down

with soy milk,
we fatten and feast
as millions starve to death.

Mayday messages in bottles find ways to Nazi thieves
miscreant boors posing as police— just who will
defend the infirm, the elderly, the immigrant refugee
against our would-be Czar?  No one, not one, but we.





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Image:  J.M.W. Turner, Calais Pier, 1803 is in the public domain