Sacred islands ringed by rusted steel, barely covered by flaked disappearing painted
scaffolding, standing like a forest with barren limbs,
empty of leaves, fallen over time
blown into space, like people leaving, boarded windows, parking meters expired
find the airport, the train station, the greyhound station
go to Illinois. Indiana’s steel cities are empty-finished now
Small plies of coke and coal line the roads where services had storefronts
the barber shop is closed  , the windows at the dry cleaners  broken, medical care shuttered
50,000, 24/7, with its own fire department, trucks gone hoses rotting
Its bus system gone closed deserted
a ghost town with mill scale streets and heavy dust
obscuring the world that was
big steel is gone now and little steel struggles
but the children of the corn remain
steadfast in their beliefs of their own righteousness
and worthiness in eyes of their almighty
be like them or you must leave therefore suffer banishment
from the promised land for popcorn
of harsh winters and hot summers
and endless pollution left behind by the mills
but they are surprised, in this age of instant communication
to find  that others across the states don’t agree
that legislation protecting religious  freedom is at best
a painfully obvious attempt to roll back the clock
to our dystopian past

A shadow named indifference came creeping,
invited to the sacred ground
by a killing and a lie
that trampled the dignity of one
insuring guilt for all, by their silence
complicit in two acts
avarice replacing humanity
the gardener thinking about the next garden
ignoring the work  in front of him
followers agree
blinded by misstatements
praying for playing field victories
Aaron won,
Dignity of the spirit

The breakfast buffet was set out before sunrise
the regular early crowd was waiting by the door
anxiously waiting the food to arrive
the gentleman in the white coat
who slept on a cushioned lounge chair near the buffet
was, as always the first to arrive

jumping up and down the little sisters, one dressed formally in fashionable black and white,
and the other more seasonal in spring tweeds
raced around trying to be the first in first bowl
stretching from bowl to bowl to see what was best, better
finally settled and down on haunches
the sound of chewing could be heard several feet away

two of the usual stragglers finally showed up
always late but always before the arrival of the sun
the burly thug wearing a mask across his eyes
and the lady in black and white
a flowing black train with two white stripes following
usually ignored each other and ate in separate settings

but that morning the sisters and the old gentleman

ate early and hearty,  consuming  all the food on three tables
leaving only one spot for both the latecomers
these two frequently ate at the same time, and next to each other
but never from the same place
the lady was a delicate eater taking small mouthfuls  and chewing her food

the thug was a gobbler eating with his hands and his mouth,

occasionally leaving the buffet and going to the pond for a drink
then would race back and gobble some more
the different munching styles strongly suggested
eating together, sharing, taking turns, would never work
and the others diners moved away, anticipating tension

first the lady would take a mouthful

the then thug would grab the bowl sticking both hands in to get his food
then the lady would with deliberation bent her head to the bowl
until the thug couldn’t take sharing anymore
and with a sudden action grabbed the bowl in his hands
holding it close to his chest, and away as he ran as fast as could

later when the lady left and regulars came back out

I went looking for the bowl
Around the side of the house
And finally through the gate I saw the errant bowl
In the front yard, in the grass
Empty and licked clean, the thug was nowhere to be seen

You anger is so deep
You pretend its devotion
You must destroy all that isn’t you
You must burn the world so that all is dust and ashes, even sand
You must demolish all that offends thee,
You must demonstrate your resolve of purification
Statues offend thee, crush them, they are idols, avatars, evil
Dancers offend thee, you practice obedience not celebration, hang them if they don’t convert
Prayers offend thee, don’t listen false to words, cut out  tongues of those who pray to false G-ds
People  offend thee, if they are different,  hang them by their necks, at the gates of your cities
You must stand alone,
You must rule the planet
You must command beyond the horizons, perhaps beyond the stars
You must dominate all that is known, all that remains,

dust and ashes

What is happening to the world,
when did the ‘other’ become in charge
you know the one who flunked biology
the one who had issues, who went away
before high school was done
And then came back and went to a college
struggled and flunked out
blaming the lazy faculty for their academic failures
while they were popular and admired by their peers
and wasn’t that enough to earn passing grades
And rode that admiration into life
with no knowledge of the world,
saying vaginas can be seen by tiny swallowed cameras.
but I fail, having passed biology, to understand how the gut is connected
to the female reproductive system
I do see striking similarities
mandated burqas  and mandates against yoga pants
God forbid the sight of the outline of vagina would drive men crazy
and away from God, especially if you were focused
on those part of a woman anatomy in the first place
I fail again to make the connection
between fungus and cancer
I suppose I could understand this
if I had never gone to school, never listened in class
never took notes, never asked questions
I will drink baking soda prophylactically
My ignorance is profound and I am ashamed
I fail to see why yoga pants are more important than health insurance
than a budget for education
than adequate food for all people
access to medical care
I fail to understand why woman’s gynecological exams
Warrant public vetting
And I especially don’t understand bunk science
That touts medical miracles if you just go to Nevada
Baking soda tiny cameras and no yoga pants will be the salvation of us all
If we forget that we were once educated