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Busboy with Bluetooth February 26, 2016

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry.
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Times have changed a lot in restaurants
since I was last a busboy in nineteen-seventy.
It’s not as easy for waitresses to accuse
busboys of stealing their tips, not much cash on tables
anymore, plastic is king and the busboy has no opportunity
even if he has motive and some measure of justification.
Waiters and waitresses are the rock stars of the restaurant,
it’s not like the old days when you knew the owner
and you could be sure that your waiter or waitress
was one you had seen in the place every time you visited.
You might even have had a favorite.
It’s just as likely you never noticed the busboy.
If he was a local jock or neighbor boy
you might give a nod but otherwise, just nameless, faceless,
cleaning up, doing a thankless but essential job.
So I was interested beyond reason when I saw a busboy with a Bluetooth,
those things that make you look like you’re talking to yourself or
make you look like you are possessed of the Borg.
But as I thought about it, I figured it was quite useful to him,
especially in a busy restaurant when you couldn’t see every table
or know when customers might depart.
Now there was another master conducting the moves, wirelessly,
in an ear of a busboy, telling him where to go next or if there
was a sudden spill or other accident that needed tending.
Having been a busboy, and been accused of being a thief or lazy
by owners, waiters and waitresses, I thought that can’t happen
anymore when, now, you didn’t even have to think for yourself,
and there’s little opportunity to lift a few pennies from a tip,
so seven-fifty an hour will have to do, I guess,
with a Bluetooth instructing you every minute in your ear.

Then, I shuddered to think the busboy might be renting skimmers

to a wait staff looking for a leg up in a ruthless world.

Left alone February 19, 2016

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry.
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I did not venture a word, there are no phrase hooks,
no pithy comments or cogent suggestions to some things.
Some things are left alone even when they seem most needy.
The damage may not be done with a thought but it is
begun with it and it is there even if it is not apparent,
even if it doesn’t scream for attention, even if it is held
hostage with muffled voice whimpering.
The more opaque it is, the more it reveals itself.
You and I can talk about it, rearrange the intellectual furniture,
play William Buckley to Leonard Cohen since we know
all intellect is of New York and the rest is, well, pseudo-intellect.
I can’t swear there is a difference from one political season to next
but names of characters change even if situations seem
oddly familiar, like family reunions we all try to avoid but the
gravity just pulls us in, probably from morbid curiosity, that’s all.
Holding your breath to count of ten and circling so hard you get dizzy,
it’s all in great fun until you realize, blankly sipping your latte at Starbucks
on a summer afternoon, your career is sucking your soul dry,
your choices have made you lame, or worse, caused atrophy.
I will stand with you, looking over your shoulder for protection –
I will wait for you when others abandon you, when others
believe they can no longer stand with you.

Vanity press February 19, 2016

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Fiction, Poetry.
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There are stories then there are facts
and sometimes the facts of a story are true
and the fiction is brought in to change names
or alter the truth to fit a slot, usually of time,
so the compactness will draw a crowd.
Write a nine-hundred-page book and it lands
on the discount shelves or worse, if that.
Write a ninety-page book and stock runs out
for the clamoring answer-starved masses
like crack addicts looking for a quick score.
I stopped writing books since I can’t out-guess
the audience or the critics or agents, to be sure.
But I can’t stop writing so here it is, and now
there’s a blessing in the activity even if I have only
the stack of rejection slips to show for the effort.
I should feel bad, disappointed beyond hope,
but I keep at it like an architect possessed, like
Dali at an easel, except results produce no accolades.
I figure I can sell direct to you, no small feat
from what I’ve read in Inc. but I like a
challenge that draws blood to my head and
strikes fear in my soul.

She was Becky Thatcher February 17, 2016

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry.
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She was Becky Thatcher
every boy’s dream
the girl who is fearless
who could keep up
and who was kind of pretty
She would see what I see
know what I knew without a word
even without a gesture
and I could let her be like an equal
not some dumb girl who didn’t understand
who didn’t know what it was like
searching in the dark
swimming for your life
forgiving the stupid but learning
with every twist, learning more
She was Becky Thatcher
and I appreciated it more I guess
since I was no Tom or Huck
I loved her even more

Mercenary farmer February 15, 2016

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Financial Crisis, Poetry.
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When the fields yearn for water in a drought-ridden valley
men study and irrigate and bring the pasture back.
As cattle produce little fruit from loins or dairy
men work tirelessly to replace portions they lacked.
Heat may stunt berries, corn, and wheat
after frost killed peaches, oranges, and cotton.
This is not a computer code you simply delete
it is life on the land and it is sweet, and it is rotten.
A mercenary farmer swoops in with an MBA or better
armed with theories of efficiency and commodity speculating.
He possesses less common sense than your uncle’s Setter
and, worse, believes his perspectives are scintillating.
Business is learned out here on the land
not for one who can’t stomach risk, who is easily chased away.
A mercenary farmer is armed with charts, certain he can take the land
using its droughts and floods for market rises and falls.
A mercenary farmer doesn’t need to include God in his plan.
He easily walks away from furrow, coop and stall.
When furious commodity trading is done
he can take his fine education and refined style to Wall Street,
vacation in Cabo under the warm Mexican sun
while others remain to make the ends meet.

How come: Adrienne Rich… February 15, 2016

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry.
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Ancient anarchist hail from Poe’s perch do you not
hear that Adrienne means rich in Greek or some such
so I am played for this clever inside joke or queer coincidence
Rich Rich, really: define place color definition
setting aside obvious tendencies for critical analysis
picking out and up a weapon without compunction
because I can: I will
You do know the world isn’t a reflection of Vermont, Oregon,
Idaho, or some place in Northern California, they are your vampires
unable to see themselves in any kind of patriotic mirror
of this republic, least of its parts and parts still admiration-drenched
deftly marketed to old hippies, landed aristocracy and the like
vacant of position, vacant of sentimental notions they say they seek
Mildly amusing to see green-bent humans embrace Darwin all the while
doing everything possible to frustrate natural selection: not in my backyard
Not rich indeed: bankrupt and reveling in their whole food brand
of chaos, dissing order EXCEPT if they can rule then all bets are off
like that: all bets off

Ash Wednesday February 12, 2016

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry.
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On my knees, discovering denial, deprivation,

receiving only what the ashes can reveal, fate, eternity,

naked to the suffering, humbled by Christ’s bleeding

for me, for you, on this dusty desert trail of sacrifice.

I can hear the voice of God, not out there, in here

no incantations of a distant deity destined to burn

but my humanity reduced to ashes, forty lashes

naked to the suffering, humbled by Christ’s bleeding

for you, for me, on this dusty desert trail weeping.

My yesterday is dead and today is fleeting, like yours,

if we care to consider tomorrow is a train leaving

a station we cannot reach, a fare we cannot afford

naked to the suffering, humbled by Christ’s bleeding

for me, for you, on a dusty desert trail standing alone.

A penitent man knees, as pride stands defiant, daring,

we can argue details, but theology is out of place

and surrender and humility and mercy fill the void

naked to the suffering, stained by Christ’s bleeding

for me, for you, on this dusty desert trail repenting.

realm of the cat February 11, 2016

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry.
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the light shone oddly
dark storm clouds against a field of blue
placid sky: a wave about to lap the unawares,
and laughing with friends there’s beer and a dog,
jack russell, a little old, but sturdy and feisty still
would he hide from the laughter shrink from this commodity
moving to the shadows, no, that’s the realm of the cat
and we don’t trust them, even if we love them, we don’t trust
it’s simply not possible and we love them still
going to war with words is entirely different than with guns
yet zombies of obama would have you believe in the anti-matter
of their thoughts, the very moral bankruptcy they claim to abhor
but they survey the starbucks with no fear of losing their jobs or
wrecking their careers allows them to afford their liberality doesn’t it
as they recede into the realm of the cat

Looking elsewhere February 11, 2016

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry.
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Certain joys overtake, overlook, seek a valley of sideways, and
shuttering we, you and I, turn faces away as from fierce wind,
as if sand is blasting against our skins and here we are, no more, no less,
no worse for the journey, yet, no need for celebrations, no calls
from those various well-wishers who raise up to be counted in triumph
and are mysteriously absent in sorrow, annoyed we’d have the nerve
to think they care, to think they need an extra burden to carry.
Yes, they do. All we do is prove it with every next breath, while the
sharks still circling discover they have lost their instinct for us
and they swim away, not disengaged, just looking elsewhere for now.

Bleed out February 8, 2016

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry.
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innocence bleeding out justice on this of many roads
in this very moment in other terrains with different weapons
lying at their sides like so many flattened corn stalks after the cyclone
like a circle of children making snow angels in Willmar in January
and we could have known it but we turned aside maybe turned by wind
by rain or indifference suffering at the hand of apathy and tossed
like a fast food paper wrapping into an abyss of waste and dark
where nobody knows and everybody knows the bane of The Soup
and we don’t get it and we don’t get it still after the instruction
after all the expensive education we can’t answer simple questions
but it’s okay, crying lets it bleed out and we all need to bleed out
from time to time, we all need to bleed out