As we lay down in the blood of strangers

As we lay down in the blood of strangers, 
Our tired bones made from the dust of stars, 
It would be so easy to just give in 
To despair, refuse to rise up again. 
 
Weary of television’s nightly dose 
Of horror and fear and murder, we want 
To hide away in some safe hole until 
It passes like a nightmare on parade. 
 
But this life is not a dream, it is real, 
As real as bullets, as bombs, as sirens, 
And we need to wake up, open our eyes, 
To dry our tears with the ashes of the dead. 
 
Our fears are as useless as our prayers, which 
Imagined god would we offer them to? 
The god of the killers and of the killed 
Is one and the same and his name is shit. 
 
This fictitious god who breeds hate too real 
For me and the all men I’ve ever loved 
Fades to nothing before the power felt 
As I lay down in a stranger’s warm arms. 
 
AGG20151116 
 
Depth Charge: The title of this poem is a slight modification of a line from an essay written by Isobel Bowdery, a survivor of the terrorist attacks in Paris, Nov 13, 2015.

guoande seal script jpegTo read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”
To read  as close as the clouds by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the linke and select “Save link as…”
To read the chapbook Happy Birthday Hanafuda by Andrew Grimes Griffin just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

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This Week in the House

This week the powerful,
The ones used to training weapons
On unknown others,
Had a gun turned on them.
In a panic they barricaded the doors,
Furiously tapped and tweeted
And dialed their cellphones,
Then fashioned stone-age spears
Out of snapped flagpoles,
As the Prime Minister hid in a closet.

In the end none of them died.
Who did die?
An average joe just doing his job
And a mad man with a sick mind
Poisoned by religion.

Just as earlier in the week
Another average joe doing his job
Was killed by a different mad man
With a sick mind poisoned
By the same religion,
But that was nowhere near
The man hiding in the closet
So, like who gives a fuck, right?

The man in the closet
Poked his head out,
Eventually,
Just long enough to squeak
“Not intimidated,”
Before he disappeared again
To plan how the people in power,
The people used to pointing the weapons
At unknown others,
Can feast on the corpses
Of the dead average joes,
Use the memory of them
To their own advantage.
It is a dusty, old parlour trick
And they know it well.
They know how to turn it
Into Parliamentary tricks
To produce even more laws
The will decrease the freedom
Of average joes just doing their jobs,
Laws that will do nothing to help
Mad men with sick minds
Poisoned by religion.

Instead they will build higher walls
And wider moats
Between them and the world,
And they will cast their suspicious glances
Upon average joes just doing their jobs,
Anyone of whom could be a mad man
With a sick mind poisoned by religion.

We will see only the ragged tips
Of their stone age spears
Protruding from the casements,
And every now and then
The man in the closet
Will venture out to squeak
About a democracy and a freedom
That does not exist,
Not even for him.

AGG20141024

Monkey No Aware #29— God and Racism

lacrimae rerum by Andrew Grimes Griffin“Racism is real in the same way God is real. They are both constructs invented to torture, enslave and dehumanize our fellow humans.  They persist because they are useful to those in power, those who wish to maintain—or increase—their power over others, those who need fictitious differences to mask real inequalities, inequities that they benefit from.”
– AGG20141016

 

To see all the Monkey No Aware posts, click on the Monkey No Aware tag below.

Should evergreens be

Graveyard lichens 2012-07-24 13.55.57

Should evergreens be
The only trees in graveyards
Fragrant spruce—fir—pine
Year-round perfuming the dead
Dreams fragile in the cold ground?

AGG20140213

Depth Charge: This tanka was sparked by a line from Akutagawa Ryunosuke’s short story, O-Gin, as translated by Jay Rubin: “…dreaming their fragile dreams of a Buddhist paradise there beneath the graveyard pines…”

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

To some the bright stars

To some the bright stars
Of a cold winter night sky
Are an immense weight
Of darkness
x                      —void
x                                  —but others
In their dreams
x                                   —float
x                       —forever

AGG20140210

Depth Charge: The impetus for this Exploded Tanka* is a line from Akutagawa Ryunosuke’s Hell Screen, as translated by Jay Rubin: “He wore what seemed to be his usual reddish-brown robe and tall soft black hat, and he looked especially small and shabby, as though the star-filled sky were a weight pressing down upon him.”

*The standard 5-7-5-7-7, 31-syllable scan is maintained, but the lines have been pulled apart for ease of alternate readings, such as reading it in columns according to indentation: To some the bright stars/Of a cold winter night sky/Are an immense weight/Of darkness/In their dreams/—void/—forever/—but others/—float. The original lines are easily enough re-constructed: To some the bright stars/Of a cold winter night sky/Are an immense weight/Of darkness—void—but others/In their dreams—float—forever.

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

Why two men fucking

A Reason to Rise_20140113

For the life of me
x    It’s incomprehensible
x        Why two men fucking
x             Is seen as something shameful
x             Not viewed like the rising sun
x        Natural and bright
x   A sight to heat our red blood
A reason to rise

AGG20140114

Depth Charge: Over the past several months, various nations around the globe have been harshly criminalizing homosexuality: India’s top court re-criminalized it after it had been legalized; Uganda (Subsequently, Uganda’s president refused to pass the law, but remains homophobic.) and Nigeria in Africa passed draconian anti-gay laws, and Russia’s insane anti-gay propaganda law continues to send a message that it is open season on gays and lesbians in that country.  In all cases, conservative religious forces – Christian, Muslim, Hindu and/or Sikh – both within and outside of the countries concerned are major supporters of anti-gay legislation.

For those who are into the writing process, this is another experiment in Mirrored Tanka (5-7-5-7-7-5-7-5) and references section 28 of Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself where he describes, amongst other things, masturbating.

A new chapbook, as close as the clouds by Andrew Grimes Griffin, is available for free reading online and/or download.

He holds pink rosaries

In Him I Live

He holds pink rosaries
Sparkling in the morning sun
The anti-choice man
Preying outside the clinic
I flip him the bird—walk on

AGG20130926

Depth charge:  Across the street from the clinic founded by Henry Morgentaler, who died earlier this year, there are usually a handful of anti-choice protesters. For the most part, they are roundly ignored by everyone, but this morning one of them offered me a pamphlet. Mistake.

To see all the tanka on this blog, click here.

A new chapbook, as close as the clouds by Andrew Grimes Griffin, is available for free reading online and/or download.

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

Poets, thieves and liars (Part III)

“Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.” – T.S. Eliot

Salute, Walt Whitman by Duane Michals

Salute, Walt Whitman by Duane Michals

In part one of this fractured essay we discussed how Mohammed disparaged other poets because he claimed they were peddling lies. Of course, he was peddling lies too, but lies different to theirs and, when you are claiming that your lies are the truth, this becomes a problem.  He addressed the issue by suppressing the other poets as soon as he was in a position to do so.

Exacerbating his truth problem was that fact that he stole from the same sources as the other poets, mainly the Abrahamic myths of the Jews, some of the Jesus myths, and assorted other hoodoo that was in the air at that time and place.  In the recycling process small variations inevitably crept in, which is no problem if you are not laying claim to absolute truth, but a big one if you are. Is the Koran, the Torah or the Bible the definitive take on the Exodus, the destruction of Sodom, Noah and the Flood?

Modern day poets are released from this concern about Big-T truth, but the danger lies in the other direction: endless re-quotation and general wankery completely unfounded in anything except other wankery.  If the poet does not occasionally make reference to the natural world, lived experience, human nature or something outside of the purely literary, he or she quickly disappears up his or her own self-referential behind.

So, it is not only important what you do with your stolen material, equally important is where you steal it from in the first place. This dictum usually gets interpreted as steal from the best, i.e. the best of literature and, don’t get me wrong, literary quotation is a fine and necessary thing, but the ever expanding worlds revealed by science, direct observation of the natural world, and paying attention to the people on your street are too often ignored.

So while it may be true that there is no such thing as a “wrong” poem, there is certainly no shortage of irrelevant ones.  Poets, open your eyes to the world to minimize the chance of adding another one to their ranks.

“I like the scientific spirit—the holding off, the being sure but not too sure, the willingness to surrender ideas when the evidence is against them: this is ultimately fine—it always keeps the way beyond open—always gives life, thought, affection, the whole man, a chance to try over again after a mistake—after a wrong guess. ”  – Walt Whitman

Poets, thieves and liars (Part I)

Poets, thieves and liars (Part II)