What is History?

The sound of metal on metal.
The sound of metal on bone.
Goat-trails on Judean hills.
Crowds surging against a gate.

    A grudge passed down from father to son.
    Buzzing on the radio.
    The struggle to cooperate.
    A bite of camphor in the air.

Rolling fields of rice, endless rows of corn.
A sacred cow’s swaying fat.
Red wine at the victory feast.
Brown water sloshing from a bucket.

    Rumors of the city.
    The music of the desert.
    Shanty towns and mausoleums.
    Skyscrapers and pain medication.

A child playing in an orchard.
The wail of sirens.
A sigh of violins.
The splash at the bottom of the well.

    Warehouses full of paper.
    Neighbors screaming through the wall.
    A bottle smashed on brick.
    A broken promise.

Sweat on the parchment.
A gathering of friends.
A man dying in a valley.
A woman sobbing in an empty room.

ours the sorrow

Your wars drag rust across the planet,
leave stains of oil not erased by rain.
Ours the struggle, yours the blame.
Ours the sorrow.

Now, at the sight of our bellies,
you show the wolf’s fang,
smiling concerned, almost,
stinking of saliva.

This is total war,
war on all fronts:
war that cannot win,
but only multiply.

Until all curves falter,
until the Asymptote,
when parameters break,
when sand covers the stain.

the crone

The Crone whispers in confusion
Vocoded incantations warping matter into mind
Rasping at the perished flue
The drone of history escaping

She is here, among us now
She will urge you forward
She is mouthing words of war
The beautiful undone


In the sandstorm our metal tempers,
while the flesh decides and steels
itself for rage:

Come, precision-guided sunsets,
majesty of clouds,
red underneath.

Come, collateral angels,
patriots sheathed in sulphur,
loading their dice.

All our training rears us
to tear cell from cell
in this age-old game: perfected.

Our metal is alive, almost,
a grinding machine —
charged with a purpose
but beyond our control.

Benefits Waived

it begins angry
a ghost
gold around the edges
rotten at the core
gold of yesterday’s sunsets
benefits waived

i remember the wind’s sound in trees
free on my bike, as a child
not yet afraid

  • but war is coming

the trenches blacken with gore
angry holes slicken
with mud
tramped underfoot
by the legion’s boot

  • war is coming

sprung from my own breast
and fear
ugly, tooth and nail

  • i will be replaced
  • my body will be covered with lime
  • brought by the day’s reinforcements