I wonder by Michael Peck

at the microphone
using the words of men
a blowfish speaks
puffed up with spines
around its body
untouchable
simply compressed air within
bellowing the defensiveness,
fear, and isolation it feels inside
..
we watch and listen
wondering what has become
of our country
why are we allowing
of a self-possessed madman
to steer our ship of state
toward the rock-strewn shore
..
will we be brave
enough
to stand
to mutiny
takeover the ship
and save ourselves
or will we
wait for someone else
with more courage
to save us
I wonder

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Sometimes it seems by Michael Peck

Sometimes it seems men
have only crept out of
the cave
brutality barely hid
fears shiny as an oil
on their skin
they have an uncanny
way of not recognizing
their reliance on one another
seeing things only
as needs, wants
even dressed in a Brooks Brothers suit
everything else is a threat
how long will it take
for us to see ourselves,
others and the world
we live on as necessary?
How long will hope and fear
hide inside our stony hearts?
Sometimes I wonder
if we will ever wake up
from the nightmare of self-protection
the hard road of solitary beings
to the prosperity and ease
of cooperation
with one another and our world

There comes a time by Michael Peck

There comes a time that we must look at ourselves for what we are and where we have been. Plowing over our dead beneath the ground, compost for the next growth of war presented wrapped like Christmas presents in glory, righteousness, and all the mumbo-jumbo created by those who never send their own sons and daughters to war. Never fought themselves except in the trenches of political campaigns promising glory, bounty, endless prosperity for the few. Never for those who are the collateral damage, those whose children die in the land of plenty of hunger and preventable disease. No, they are the forgotten, the never born ones who are never even spoken about or given names. The time is always now for change but change is bound by the chains of expectation and the plotting onward of what has gone on before. Oh, the beautiful lie of endless growth that in medical school is called cancer. Bellowed over the microphone and TV about making America great again and how the groans of the dead who’ve heard this before go unnoticed.

The flat faced God by Michael Peck

We told ourselves
it was a simple improvement
we didn’t see its looming impact
on our society
our future
our children
just a better communication system
it would only improve our access to information
and keep us informed

then we quit watching
the physical world outside
most of us joined the iPhone society
wandering down the street
with our minds somewhere
a thousand miles away
wrapped inside the flat screen

it seemed harmless enough
until we quit talking to each other
even on our phones
now we text
it’s quicker and less personal
you can be abrupt
and not seem rude, uninterested

now our lives are stored in hand held
memory banks
we don’t question the information
just look, like and share
look, like and share information
emotion icons and symbols
but not ourselves.

Reward of Combat by Michael Peck

he watched her every morning
start her run
dressed in black
matching the fading night
which creeps slowly west
he watches her return
wiping the sweat from her face
standing at her door
he pictures her showering
her naked body enveloped
by hot water and steam
slowly turns around
as her door shuts
his desire still hot
moving towards the kitchen
in his wheelchair
toward the coffee pot
the only warmth
he can look forward to today

Pandemic by Michael Peck

the sickness spread silently
starting in individuals
then into groups, government, and religion
the altar was cleaned of statues
a mirror set on the Gold leaf table
beautiful people stood before it
women fluffed their hair
men adjusted their ties
that was the genuflection now
wallets were placed upon the scale
donations made by weight
still, they all came on Sundays
to be seen
to smile, shake hands, brag about their businesses
no one seemed to notice
the church and God being transformed
once more by those who made them
and the rules

The Game by Michael Peck

We chose to play the game
struggled to become a piece
on the board
knowing inside it wasn’t a game.
 ..
we knew only hunger
we wanted to eat something,
anything to fill our bellies,
feel some respect and dignity
to ease the pain of being empty
we wanted a chance.
 ..
we would play the game
that wasn’t a game
we would carry the bag
go where they told us to go.
 ..
we would run with the bag
if anyone tried to stop us,
if we dropped the bag
the rules of the game
said we were dead.
 ..
maybe the police couldn’t run as fast
as us
maybe if we ran through the streets
they wouldn’t shoot if
there were people in the street.
 ..
so we played the game
knowing we were expendable pieces
on the mean streets
of life’s board game
half starved with frightened eyes
trying to look mean or brave
knowing it was for ourselves
because no one else cared about us
we wanted to eat
and knew in our hearts
one day we would be eaten.

American individualism by Michael Peck

American individualism makes itself great again
sandwiched between myth and distortion
scandal flavored tea with spoiled milk
the minds somnolent attitude refuses to wake up.
..
Sandwiched between myth and distortion
the dreams of men wither
the minds somnolent attitude refuses to wake up
traditions knee-jerk reactions turn into habits.
..
The dreams of men wither
their potency dissipates without new images
traditions knee-jerk reactions turn into habits
the empire wants just one more piece of the pie.
..
Their potency dissipates without new images
iPhones and TV simply imitate the known
the empire wants just one more piece of the pie
chaining those in service to toil and die.
..
iPhones and TV simply imitate the known
repeating sound bites, texts, and recorded laugh lines
chaining those in service to toil and die
while hunger for something real grows unseen.
..
Repeating soundbites, texts, and recorded laugh lines
the conversation dies in the infertile ground
while hunger for something real grows unseen
history is repeated in impoverished grammar.
..
The conversation dies in infertile ground
minds ache from the vacuum inside
while hunger for something real grows unseen
American individualism makes itself great again.

Within the Body Politic by Michael Peck

Within the body politic
the infection breeds
first is the discomfort
then comes the enduring pain
until what is brewing inside
erupts on the outside
manifesting
the source of the pain
forecasting the coming demise
the decimation of the host
and that disease within
Greece, Rome, Spain, France, England,
have all succumbed in the past
to the infectious disease
..
The head refuses to acknowledge
the foot
the state ignores
the need for world interdependence
the people think
independence is possessions
wealth and power
forgetting where they came from
the ground they stand on
where they will return
the grand compost heap
the steaming raw material
that life will use
to form
its next experiment

The Change by Michael Peck

the fall came suddenly
the screaming of the battle
was gone
open mouths move soundlessly
in disbelief
the battle cries
sunk into the bitter ground
surrounded by destruction
it was hard to believe
any longer
new growth could push
up through the carnage
..
those who spoke
so eloquently of the new spring
the new spirit covering the land
the crop of hope and freedom
gathered their troops
around them proclaiming
society’s future
would be safe and better
but the rules weren’t any different
just more enforcement
while tolerance
fled the country

most of us just die by Michael Peck

most of us just die
never knowing when
the end will come
not well
not aware
filled with those same
uncertainties we carried throughout our life
doubts and shameful moments
that were never discussed
never saw the light of day
age just crept up on us
as we lived our lives
unaware
a repetition of learned habits
that felt comfortable
most of the time
except late at night
when we wondered
out loud to ourselves
if there was more.

Standing Rock Thanksgiving by Michael Peck

Smells of roasting turkey
pervades the air
people lifting glasses of wine
celebrating

No one here hears
the barking attack dogs
the observation helicopters
the cold spray of the water cannons
people screaming at standing rock
holding their hands over their eyes

We smiled at one another
making small talk
laughing at the family dog
shaking her toy growling

Our ancestors never were invited
to dinner
to build homes on Indian lands
to take property by the streams
to kill all the fur-bearing animals
and send them back to the crown
for profit

Someone hiccups and laughs
followed by another popping can of beer
while waiting for the pie to cool
enough for the ice cream

We are not those who are standing
in freezing weather
soaking wet
being pushed back
by guns and police dogs

We’re celebrating Thanksgiving
maybe unaware
that in part we are celebrating
not being them

The Candidates by Michael Peck

they were magnets
attracting people
who wanted to follow

you can unite people
by their mutual needs and desires
love
compassion
the understanding
we are all the same

or you can unite people
on their baser instincts
fear
greed
and the desire for power

both work
yet one destroys itself
being unsustaining
taking more than it gives

National Nightmare by Michael Peck

the white ones spoke
demanding protection
from new ideas
non white races
different religions

holding rifles white knuckled
above their heads
screaming they wanted the future
to be great like the past
millions who didn’t want to
wake up in the twenty first century

yes they won
white is right
the color of extremism
white the absence of all colors
black all colors together
so separate and unequal
we stand

Warriors’ Lament by Michael Peck

The sun rises
upon their broken dreams
scattered pipes
laying on top of the unearthed graves
young and old being shot for standing on their ground
crushed beneath the boots of progress

Angry faces
pointing guns at
unarmed men, women, children
dreams of paychecks
that have been halted
by someone else’s world
these tribes have lost so many times before
these men think they will lose again

Bodies, dreams old and young
heaped up
like a mound of buffalo skulls
while their ancestor’s white bones
lie beneath the bulldozers treads

Still, they come
standing together beating their drums
like the ghost dancers of long ago
have walked through the portal
of time

Their message renewed
warriors dressed in old blue jeans
armed with the love of their land
shall defeat those who want them dead
their spirits drowning in their own greed
their arms tired
of their rifles needless weigh

The Endless Repetition by Michael Peck

Even the preacher is bored
he reads the pages of the Bible
flipping them one by one
looking up to see
if anyone is listening
he hasn’t for years
neither have they
simply following the script
saying the words
singing the hymns
 ..
They have no light
in their eyes
they all come
for different reasons
fear, loss, nowhere else to go
 ..
Life goes on
they walk silently
from the churches
stone arched door
eyes not making contact
thinking about dinner
and the empty chairs
around the table
 ..
The TV’s distractions
untruths
about remaining young
late-night love
which has long been forgotten
while eyes tear
over one lonely plate

True Believers by Michael Peck

flat world believers
dream
of endless growth
expansion
money
ignoring those being pushed
off the edge
their screams and tears
lost beneath the noise of
stock exchange excitement
the sweet sound of profit
 ..
our leaders say
we have to
continuously grow
our economy
our power
our influence
if we are to survive and
afford an army
to protect us
 ..
Those who do not share
our dreams
destroy them
we can not support
those who
don’t stand with us
 ..
everyone must do their share
being willing to sacrifice
but the ones speaking
did not sacrifice
 ..
those on the edges
kept being pushed closer
to that final fall
trying to push back
toward the center
where it was safe
 ..
the riot police
formed a line
pushing
them back
they knew the finale solution
the only room
was over the edge
 ..
no one seemed
to question
what would happen
once the police
finally reached the edge

Postcards by Michael Peck

postcards
from hell
photos of dead-men
mothers clutching their children
hiding in the dark doorways
fear crawls through their downcast eyes
heavy trucks filled with armed uniformed men
black flags, face masks with hate filled eyes
jeeps rumble through the deserted streets firing their weapons
bloody bodies fill the streets while women and children cry

White Piraña by Michael Peck

Black
underprivileged
stereotyped
take the B away
you have Lack
lacking
equality
enough to eat
clean water
respect
police protection
instead of police brutality
black the absorption of
all colors
the sum of immense
hatred
Prejudice
slaves to the projected
fears and
unkindness of the
white piraña
the conquering heros
whose bleached skin
and morality
contain only
one color
the blood red stains
around their lips
Which
have never known
enough
never stopped
wanting more

Politics by Michael Peck

don’t let the intensity
consume you
turn your hair salt-and-pepper
..
carry your light
into the dark dusty spider filled basement
of politics
drive the dark sameness out
don’t let the traditions
solidify into concrete
around your feet
..
slavery was a
valued tradition
of the past
a standard of civilization
turn on the light
open your heart
change
..
the opposition wins
by making you one of them
comfortable in the darkness
weaving your own web
hungry for an opportunity
for your idealism
you traded
for a profession
that has none