Thugs enthroned themselves
our Temple of Democracy overthrown
they calculated vengeance
under the Dome
a podium hoisted
selfies on their phones
they climbed the walls like asps
their slurry of broken glass and blue Trump flags
slopped past the flag pole-struck line of blue
they otherwise revered.
I shouldn’t brood over
the nightly news.
There are many strange sounds at night when you are alone.
Night-World is about vampires and what-not.
That is not what I mean.
My floor boards creak
with the tread of a gnome;
he roams and sneaks
through my home in moonlight.
That unknown sound must be the AeroGarden
groaning to recycle
a soupçon of water
massing around the entangled roots.
Some animal is scratching
around in the crawl space overhead.
Back and forth it scurries.
It hurries, alone, freaking me out
in my dream zone.
Icy branches sag and rasp
across my bedroom window;
the wind is picking up, moaning
creaking the laden tree.
I fumble for the hasp
with blurry night vision
fling open the pane
piqued by the intrusion,
sleep disentangled from rest.
Ah yes, the tinnitus
pure and constant in my right ear–
my good ear
has the stage to itself,
the slurry of sound removed.
I invite you into my brain
I welcome your annoying noises
into my blood.
I cannot describe my neural noise.
It is the sound that means I am alive.
In a vital way it is like
the one thousand two hundred sixty heartbeats
of a ruby-throated hummingbird
thumping in one minute,
like the cooped-up dog making a series of high-pitched whines
that sound a lot like a dog’s version of crying.
Perhaps I have been assigned
an animal guide
or a series of them with messages just for me.
I do not hear them now.
Then again, maybe someday they will talk to me again.
Somebody shot at me.
Someone wearing a red hat.
Perched on a branch by the reflecting pool,
A juvenile. Spotted. No white head or white tail.
I was flying over the Capitol.
A searing pain crippled my wing.
Why would anyone shoot a bald eagle?
We used to be misunderstood
bad moral character
thieves of other birds’ food.
Farmers hunted us as vermin.
My ancestor is on the Great Seal.
There is no way I can take over now.
E pluribus unum has fluttered to the ground.
I am not just some symbol
on a piece of wood
signifying wisdom and strength.
I will quit this swamp on the Potomac
fly to my eyrie
escape the rule of mobs.
I cannot hold onto the thirteen leaves
on the olive branch.
Thirteen arrows of war
plummet down out of my talon.
You can pick them up yourselves.
When the eagle took off, he started
around and around and around
he went up into the sky
higher than the clouds
until he was nothing but
a little dot.
And now where is my day-message?
I can hear voices in the wind.
But I gotta listen with a different set of ears
not the regular daily noises.
What do I need to hear today?
Got a big old rock down there by the pond.
I’ll go down there and sit down.
And just listen.
And I hear things.
And I’ll let the birds come to me.
And I’ll let the messages happen.
People are afraid of the unknown–
when I tell them I hear stuff,
if they can’t describe what it is,
they are afraid of it,
I am trying to translate it all.
Poetry is supposed to be new.
Not the tones we’ve heard before
not the same old SOS.
I will call a convocation of eagles
and ask them:
What about me? Any political insights?
They snicker with their high-pitched giggles.
Let the reckonings happen
let the birds come to me.
I will channel
my own stories.
I will pick them up myself.
Here is the first encoded one,
I have seen the violence done to the helpless
I have heard the groans of the poor
Now I will rise up to rescue them,
as they have longed for me to do.
Who’s my message from?
I had better listen.
It is really nervy to defy heaven,
to puff at damnation.