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POEMS

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Fighting

It’s the fighting that wears you down
With sons and armies
And magistrates
And wives and lovers
And those that employ us
And those we employ
And the banks
And the electric company
And the phone company
And the landlords
And the streets become battlegrounds
Where everyone believes it’s their turn.

People tell me in the here and now it’s the money
But I have lived for over half a century
And have rarely walked with more than ten pounds of my own
So I wouldn’t know the taste
Besides if I follow it back I find its use limited
By images of sugar plantations and slavery,
Mines and the shooting of my sisters and brothers
In Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe and Australasia
And the currency has its roots in an unequal trade
For which wars are fought
And it’s the fighting that wears us down
And it’s the fighting that wears us down

Each day I watch the preparations for the battles ahead
Where fatigue is contagious and beyond measurement
But the laying down of arms is even harder
And leaves an emptiness
Mere lovemaking cannot fill.

If clowns are left too long
Beating on the metal doors of the arena
Their smiles fade and the red on their noses melts
Besides stilt walking isn’t easy when your hands are bleeding.

All I want is sunshine without drought
Rain without flood
And forests to walk in where I am not attacked by mosquitoes
And wild animals
Scrape off the make up and I am left with these simple desires.

I didn’t ask for alliances that last a lifetime
But some of us will sign anything
And keep doing it again and again
And with each friend comes a new enemy
And fresh wounds
To be licked in the privacy of the aftermath.

“Don’t you ever get tired of it” she asked
And the answer is obvious
But they keep renewing my script
And I run to the bathroom
To shoot up confrontations
And bang my head on the cubicle walls.
My whole body aches
And I know
It’s the fighting that wears us down
And I know
It’s the fighting that wears us down
And I have this dream
That the gladiators in the ring will one day sit together
And discuss the weather
And their visions
While the emperor
Simply shrugs his shoulders
And leaves
And we veterans
Without recollection
Will make our way
With the ease of innocence.