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Extinction Theory

10.31.19 Posted in today's words by

Susan Sonde’s most recent poem to appear here was “Music From A Tone Deaf Planet” (September 2019).

Extinction Theory
By Susan Sonde

“Man is a rope . . . over an abyss.”
                                    Thus Spake Zarathustra
                                                   Friedrich Nietszche

Wind once felled the planet
seismic waves drowned water.
Fish swimming gape-mouthed
caught glass in their gills.
Volcanoes spewed
like cans of shaken soda and
acid rain lost count
of those it hurt.

Truffles don’t span roses
but nature traps humans
as conspicuous forms
of stagnation.

Go to sleep children.
I‘m just warming up.

This cauldron’s our bed.
We beg sleep to steal us
coffin and press into mud
our incinerating flesh.

These words are coming
from my maze-memory
ever-encroaching self: a shard
of obsidian, the arrowhead
I swallowed at birth.

Anxiety in the trachea
or birth defect?

On street corners around the world
pimps repose, each cloistered in
his own darkness
high from hypoxia and crises.

Their cities run out too soon
of sweet talk and money.

Shoes are a pimp’s plenty
not the gold that gibbets
his neck.
Shoe leather cradles flesh
makes feet happy.
Envelopes arrive
concealing lucre and drugs.
We live frequently
where he opens them.

Sometimes we open them.

Our time zones spend too much.
Our brains conjure and perjure us.
Our agendas fear bridges.
Our agencies miscommunicate.
The weight of flowers in their cuffs
imperils. Their toileting’s
messy. The mountains which gave
them wild ones, the gardens
from which they stole some
have coded, and the machines
that keep the “I” in “us”
from flat lining are contentious.

Nature’s no healer and
cupping’s not bad but bloodlettings,
infestations, trepanations those
healing arts once sought
ad hoc from barber shop surgeons
seem distressingly invasive.

Countries might, if they choose
negotiate but the autocrats
who designate and ruin them
sink nightly into mercurial bliss
like torpedoes flaying water.
Behind their barred doors
fire tightens its grip on ozone
but the citizenry’s eyes are humid
and non-combustible.
History rushes past them
like a final flash of iridescence.

History’s dead, the Deity feral.
Priests are not honey.

How sweetly sticky, how viscous
the onrush. No toss of the dice
no investiture in the Tarot
can restore respiration to the dead
no footfalls of snow arriving muddy

Wounds can’t clear hurdles
contraband deliver crutches
light startle the soma in stones
where the redundant collect
like insects in darkness.

The beginning was brutalized
at the outset. The backs
of the indigenous don’t lie.
The badges we brandish do

promise reparations.

There shall be no reparations.
We’re immodestly impoverished
we say, uniforms scanty
souls threadbare
bodies that bear them barren.

We go too long
without eating, limp weakly
from century to century
consuming the silence of animals
offering  our remains  to the dark

and tomorrows to no one.

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