Saturday, July 14, 2012

Three poems by James Stout

Collective Arms

Her back wears lines of flesh-risen scars.
Her face a hidden mask of filth and smeared grease.
A muddy path of tears runs over her sooty cheek,
To tightly stretched lips
Which silently mouth, “I hate you!”
Over and over to the human race.

She bore us. Birthed us. Nursed us in our infancy.
Look at the gratitude for her gift of life—
Ravaged by vicious machines and explosives.
I swallow my rage. Piss lines to squelch the flames.

Why does she lay still and mute through it all?
She will die the silent sufferer and wait us out.
Our fate is hers, only we are too stupid to admit it.
Mankind’s collapse is fire and she, the phoenix.

Go, pick up her broken body in collective arms.
Hold her. Clean and bandage her. Arraign her in fine garments.
Place her on the throne of honor she deserves and worship.
Do not passively watch while we defile our mother earth.

Drip, Drip, Down the Drain

Possibility abounds in almost everything.
As I stay down on my knees, eyes shut tight each day
Apollo makes his rounds lines deepen on my face
With each passage choices diminish and opportunities decrease
I can always look back wistfully or ahead with hope
Here, now—whoops, already gone and too late
Ephemeral contentment eludes every grasp
Goes drip, drip, through my fingers
And down the drain
Drip, drip, down
The drain.

Archetypical You

A digital camera captures your image in 10.0 mega pixels
Your face attempts to conceal years of mutilated memories
A mask to try and hide between molecules and mind.
As they travel through lenses, betraying your secrets on a photograph,
That character you play falls away—briefly—but long enough
Your lip curls into a sneer.
Now you want to explain, give reason for this sui generis
Not necessary—you cannot change anything before now
Your parents? Your town and country? The universe is a sad place

And you are who you are.

James Stout teaches Middle School Language Arts in Morrisville, North Carolina. He has two children, three dogs, and seven chickens. He enjoys sunshine and his blueberry shrubs.

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