the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night




Peter Martin


In my bleak heart
The other one
The one you can't see
Sleigh bells deafen
Children fed to the roller bearings
Don't hear the whoop whoop whoop of the profiteers

In my bleak heart
The one you can't see
Our man of a thousand cuts
Preens on his cannibal perch
Fire feed children
Children feed fire
In my bleak heart
The other one
The one you can't see


Night Formations

We peer into the fire-lit circle and count.
The old woman sits folding steam into smoke.

Whispers are too loud on this road.
We will walk all night
with no effort to hear the moon.

My hands grow warm and fuzzy brushing your hair.
We no longer plan things. Unseen eyes guide us
On darker nights and stretch the net we fall into.

(Previously published in Outloud)


Song of the Person With AIDS

— After Rilke

Nobody told me about this before it happened.
God is just now showing his treacherous side.

I could simply retreat to the AIDS colony
as all of you would prefer,
and not show my rapidly aging face with the open
sores, the one you didn't recognize back there.
Or go quietly in my room like Robert.

No. I'll wander among you bewildered. Look!
The dark cloud over there is coming towards us.
Here! Duck into the earth if you can.
Some curses are never lifted.
They stay your whole life.

(Previously published in Home Planet News)



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