Open Letter

 
 
This is an open letter
to those whose egg shell chest
cracks
under the pressure
of their breath
breathing down borrowed air
like they aren’t worth
the photosynthesized miracle
of carbon and oxygen
 
This is an open letter
to those whose sense
of “this is who I am”
is up for grabs
at the hands of too many
unsecured moments
and people
fluttering in and out of their lives
like migratory birds
or rainy seasons
 
This is an open letter
to those whose childhood was marked
by the mental health of their parents
whose ability to survive
relied on accommodations
they made to another’s mind
like
feeling out a form in the dark,
and learning
how to dance with it
 
This is an open letter
to those whose bridges
never felt sturdy enough
who never learned to take the chance
to walk across
even our most dilapidated
of structures.
 

New TCBH! poem:

The coming world that should be

 
 
There is a world coming that should be.
I can see it.
It’s close to being the world we have
But different in some important ways:
More food for the hungry,
More love,
More honesty,
Less gas and oil and meaningless death and wars,
More love,
Oh, I already said that, more love.
 

And let it be soon
Before it’s too late
And the door closes
For the creation of would-be worlds.
But whether there is a new world
The time for the end to this old world has arrived
With a clap of thunder,
So loud it makes your brain go numb.
It makes your ears ring
Like the great gong
In the courtyard of a Buddhist temple
To an ant climbing on the gong,
When the gong is struck 33 times
For the 33 faces of the Buddha.
 

Ouch-ouch-ouch-ouch-ouch

 
 
Sometimes being in the United States
Is like walking barefoot
Over broken glass,
Or walking on hot sand.
Having a conversation with someone
Who doesn’t get a thing about me
Feels like being brushed by nettles.
Am I even wearing clothes?
Everything gets through!
The climate here is chilling.
Where am I?
Is this still home?
Where did all those corners come from
That I keep bumping into.
I’m not accident prone;
It’s the environment that has become
Angular, unnavigable.
The news is acidic and keeps coming back up!
It’s like someone installed an invisible fence:
I keep getting zapped.
Yesterday I was listening to someone’s story
About how they dealt with a pest
And my heart skipped a beat
When their supposedly amusing story
Morphed into a confession
Of unconscious cruelty.
Like a splinter
Burying itself in my unsuspecting hand.
Or simply seeing what they’ve done
To places that used to be beautiful
Feels just plain shitty.
My native land can be a very painful place to live,
And I’m an educated White man.
I can’t imagine what it’s like,
Can’t imagine what it’s like,
Can’t imagine what it’s like
To be a person of color
In the United States.
 
 
Gary Lindorff

Poem by Athalia Allen to commemorate a powerful day

My wife, Shirley, and I attended a rally and march in Rutland Vermont, Saturday, 3/24/18, the day of March For Our Lives, a true milestone in American history, not just because of the size of the turn-out nationwide and world-wide, but because all of the marches and rallies were largely organized and led by youth. If there wasn’t a movement before, there is now.

This hauntingly beautiful poem is by Athalia Allen, freshman at (Vermont) Rutland High School. Actually these words are lyrics to a song she composed and sang for the rally in Main Street Park, to a gathering of 500.

I Hear You Crying
 
Breathe in blood red moon,
I hear you crying.
Breathe out dark sky,
I feel you shining.
On my face
When the night falls.
And the brook calls your name.

 
Tiptoe waiting wind
I smell the rain.
Challenge me crashing waves
I feel your spray.
On my face
When my dress and my soul fly in the wind.
Closed are my eyes,
For I too am crying.

 
You can’t pull a trigger and murder the sun.
Yet you can put a hole in the ground.
My soul is speaking and so is my mind.
Yet my voice doesn’t make a sound.

 
Breathe in blood red moon,
I hear you crying.
Breathe out dark sky,
I feel you dying.
You’re exhausted
When the night falls.
And the brook calls your name.

 
Breathe in blood red moon,
I hear you crying.

 
 
Athalia Allen

The United States makes me sick

 
 
It’s come to that.
I’ve been sick of my country for a long time,
Ever since I stopped being a kid.
When I learned about the atomic bombing of Japan.
Then Vietnam brought it home.
 
I was writing Romantic poetry
Until the age of 12.
Then my poetic soul
Gently urged me to wake up.
I woke up like Neo in the Matrix
 
In a bath of amniotic fluid
Covered with suctioning electrodes
Which I pulled off,
Gasping for air
Like a premature newborn
 
Adult human being.
All Romantic notions
Of One Nation Under God,
Hand to the heart,
Swearing allegiance became just swearing.
 
Something hit the window of my house of mirrors.
I picked up the still-warm
Bird of my youthful soul
And got sick right there,
Sick of my country.
 
I have nothing to prove to my country.
No loyalty.
My country needs to win me back.
Hand over heart, face mask for protection.
Stop making us sick.
 
 
Gary Lindorff

AR-15

 
 
…………………………………………..
…………………………………………..
…………………………………………..
…………………………………………..
…………………………………………..
…………………………………………..
…………………………………………..
…………………………………………..

you,
me,
a random student,
mother,
teacher,
uncle,
friend . . .
 
Again.
Again.
Again.
America.
 

Gary Lindorff

New poem:

Ostrich's lament

 
 
The sand underground is very dark
But I’ve learned to open my inner eye.
I’ve become quite the dreamer!
Been dreaming up a new world.
 
It used to be dark down here
All by myself, hiding
From everything that is going on, everything
Swirling around the United States of the Ostrich Farm.
 
Sure I miss running with my fellow birds.
But I don’t miss it much!
Nobody takes us seriously.
We’re sort of the muppets of nature.
 
Big eyes, long eyelashes, long scaly legs.
Fluffy butt feathers.
Nobody cares that I can run as fast as a horse
And that I have three stomachs
 
Which is helpful in a world where
There is so much junk to digest.
Did you know that I can see clearly
For over 2 miles with my Disney eyes?
 
What an irony that my sensitivities
Force me to keep my sight sequestered
In this underworld of sand and darkness,
Dreaming for a better day.

Imagine this world

 
 
Can you imagine a world without elephants?
Imagine a world without people-
who-can’t-live-in-a-world-without-elephants.
Now imagine a world without people-who-can’t-
imagine-a-world-without-people-who-
can’t-imagine-a-world-
without-elephants.
Imagine a world of elephants without people-
who-can-live-in-a-world-without-elephants.
Imagine a world of people-
who-can’t-imagine-a-world-of-people-who-can’t-imagine-
elephants-without-a world.
Now imagine a world
without elephants-without-a-world.
Now imagine that world-without-elephants-without-a-world
within a world with people-who-
can-imagine-a-world-with-elephants-
without-people-who-can’t-imagine-a-world-without-elephants.
Now imagine that that world-without-elephants-without-a-world
is within a world of people-who-not-only-can
imagine-a-world-with-elephants,
but can’t-imagine-a-world-of-people-who-can’t-imagine
elephants-without-a-world-
of-people-who-can’t-imagine-a-world-without-elephants
is this world.
Imagine this world.
 
 
Gary Lindorff

Sleepwalker

 
 
He committed murder.
He burned down a house.
He didn’t know what he was doing.
Let him go.
 
We can’t wake him up.
 
The sleepwalker is bulding a big bomb
To blow up a church.
In his sleep now
He is weaponizing his unconscious hatred.
 
The defense: He doesn’t know what he’s doing.
Judgment: Let him go.
 
Now the sleepwalker
Votes in a racist.
Abuses women.
Embraces violence like a lover.
 
In a rare lucid moment
He pleads innocent:
 
I didn’t know what I was doing.
 
The sleepwalker
Asks the judge,
Can I go now?
I didn’t know.
I didn’t know anything.

 
Judge: Let him go.
 
Prosecution: Let there be nuclear war.
Let there be the end of things.
Let the sea rise.
Let the homeless wander the earth.
 
The sleepwalker walks out.
He walks down the middle of the street.
Cars swerve around him.
He is innocent.
 
Leave him be.
 
 
Gary Lindorff

Parallel reality — a poem

 
A seahorse thought,
A very small wave
Followed by another.
 
And way down below,
Its counterpart,
The seahorse . . .
 
And maybe deeper,
Some quiet resolve
To explore vast spaces
 
Of eternal quietude beneath oceans
That seem to never end. And yet,
Someday we wind up in the sunlight on a shore
 
As beautiful as any place imaginable
With no plastic
Nor any trace of war,
 
And there, to make peace with the memory
That we made it through
By simply being kind.
 
 
Gary Lindorff