Friday, May 08, 2020

Fool Moon Madness

The piece below has appeared on La Bloga at least two previous times. It was written during another war. I'm posting it again because it fits my mood, and only in a broad way does it show up today as an antiwar poem.

A little context:  The times are heavy and hard. The news is dark and burns the spirit. Disease rages around the world, fed by incompetent politicians and self-serving maniacs. Beasts of the night wear American flags and automatic weapons and demand freedom when what they want is to be free to hate and reject and trample. The 2020 version of "Don't tread on me" is "Don't you dare try to close my diner when I serve hamburgers and shakes and COVID-19." Greed rules.  Respect is an afterthought, a neverthought.

Last night's moon glowed but was that false hope? The current war is unique, but just as deadly as any other. 

And the wind began to howl ...


Manuel Ramos
All rights reserved, copyright 2007

silver sheen slipped
around twilight
bathing us
in summer’s ache

joan baez sang
it’s all over now
baby blue
she knew the story
behind that song
but she
was not talking
not revealing
any secrets
except for what
I could decipher
from her
emphasized words

we drank red wine
slapped at mosquitoes
convinced ourselves
age and experience
make up
for enthusiasm
and ambition

the time of year
required an
emotional response
but we staggered
in our search for meaning

we drank red wine
slapped at glowing insects
filtered our thoughts

an accusatory wind
washed through the
urban valley
breaking an
uneasy truce
redefining the moment
our malaise took root
orange-tinged electric paranoia
conquered gray inertia

we lapsed into
the collective dream
of the folding sky

death machines
rolled through the desert
children with bloody stumps
stared with charcoal-ringed eyes
their halos
glimmered against
the smoky night
as they melted
into reflecting pools
of ten thousand mosques

the old glorious shroud
whipped the sand
until only the glassy moon
from beyond the horizon

barbed wire dripped
the lava of despair
guard dogs
spoke spanish
but the hunted travelers
were mute
and blind
and lost

they avoided
eye contact
their embarrassment
knocked me to my knees

somewhere an old man
gasped his final breath
an infant breathed
her first and only ration of life
while pastel heirs
hunted painted eggs
in texas buffalo grass
littered with foil wrappers
and q-tips

i wanted out of the dream
but i was surrounded
by celebrity hounds
licking at my
rusty sandals

young women
puckered elderly lips
plumped with gold
their bruised necks
slumped under the weight
of diamond chokers
as they waded through
tar-drenched muck
until they drowned
in their imaginations

the thump
of incoherent rhythms
bounced from a tilted
alabaster condo
that stood over the rubble of
little mexico
the bottoms
paddy town
and where inuna-ina once skinned antelopes

a siren cut the night
but my deafness prevented a response

the policeman reported
an ignored car alarm
as a useless gesture
the schizophrenic cacophony
of neighborhood watch
and worldwide amnesia

he lost his job
when he used his badge
as an umbrella
to hold back tears
from squandered hopes
and violent choices

naked grandchildren
paraded through a living room
stuffed with their parent’s memories
i whispered something
about the usual suspects

stainless steel jail bars
clutched their errant lovers
who watched the warden
hang himself
elevator music
flooded the cell blocks
i hummed along
because i knew all the words

i jerked away from the dream
and realized
i had not been asleep
there was no wine
and I was alone



Manuel Ramos writes crime fiction. He is working on a new Gus Corral novel.

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