Swamp Dweller

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Photo: Patrick Smith on Unsplash

 

He claims crises are never his doing.

He says none of what’s broken

Can be.

Not the harm.

Not the scams.

Not the spread of corruption,

Or growing alarm.

It is all others’

Fault.

Everyone else

Is bad.

If there’s pain

It’s the doing of fools

Who complain

And fake hardships besides.

Obdurate,

He mocks all

Who point out

Lies he told.

To him every word

From his mouth

Is pure gold.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Obdurate in 72 words

 

 

 

To Know Good

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Photo: Valario Davis on Unsplash

 

 

“So how do you,” he asked,

“Know good

From bad?”

 

“By the heart,” she replied.

“By the actions that

Build

And prop up,

And the words that

Support

And patch the

Cracked places

Inside broken parts.”

 

“And how,” he pressed,

“Do you know what

Just needs

Giving up?”

 

“By the soul,”

She patted the warm place

On her lap.

“For breath

Matters,

And hope

Matters,

And kindness

Is superior to any

Pass-by-night

Emperors

Full of promises

Of might,

Touted

For our good

But seeped in

Falsehood meant

To bring on

Plight.”

 

He shuddered

And she stroked his wet cheek

And held a cool

Palm to his brow.

“Now sleep,

And let spirits

Of light,

Hold back the bad

And

Fill your cup

With good

Till the world grows

Up.”

 

 

 

For RDP Sunday: For Our Good

 

 

 

Collateral Damage

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Photo: Sharon McCutcheon via Unsplash

 

“They’re collateral damage,” he said, and gestured toward the flash of news images across the screen. “It’s not anything personal against them.”

He shrugged as if his words explained all of what happened. Of what continues to take place.

“They never should’ve put themselves in this situation,” he added, perhaps because he’d perceived my incredulous stare as an invitation to explain further, or perhaps because someplace, somehow, he felt ashamed. That is, if he was capable of shame, which as the evening dragged on I found myself increasingly doubtful of.

I glanced at Brenda, whose dinner plate seems to have become her world. Her absconding only made me angrier, but the boulder in my throat allowed no sound. I shook my head.

“Well, they could’ve stayed where they were,” he retrieved a comb out of his pocket and proceeded to slick back his salt-and-pepper hair, and the outrageously incongruous act against the reality of utter misery, somehow released my breath.

“They are children!” I choked on the word, but the rest tumbled out behind it as if afraid to become lodged again. “They could not make the decision to stay. They had no choice where to be born. Or who they were born to, or whether or not to put themselves in any situations.”

He continued to groom himself with the comb and I fought the urge to grab his arms and toss away the thing, one of the many things, the children were denied.

“Their parents should’ve taken better care of them,” he added blandly.

I took in a deep breath. “Even if that was true, which it is not in the vast majority of the cases, how does that make it acceptable for others to deliberately traumatize these children further?”

He raised an eyebrow in disdain to signal that my upset was the overreaction. “If their parents stayed in their own countries,” he stated sedately, “instead of coming here, the children wouldn’t get locked up. It’s simple, really. If a person doesn’t want their kids to suffer, they should not do certain things.”

“So now we’re talking like the mafia? Threatening people with harm to their kids?”

“Calm down,” he drawled. “Now that people know their kids wouldn’t have it easy here, perhaps they’d think before they decide to make their kids into collateral damage. If they did as they were told and stayed wherever it was they belonged, none of this would have to happen.”

I inhaled and glared at his wife, the colleague whose silence at the face of cruelty made her increasingly less of a friend. Her eyes scanned the wall someplace not quite behind my head.

“So you approve of terrorizing children,” I stated, my fingers groping for my purse. Her birthday dinner or not. I was done. “This is exactly what mafia does.”

He actually cackled. “They’re the mafioso. It’s their fault if their kids are cold and wet and getting hurt. What did they expect, crumpets and tea?”

 

 

 

For Linda Hill’s SoCS writing challenge: co-

 

Locked

 

Locked up AdiRozenZvi2

Photo: Adi Rozen-Zvi

 

Life without

Possibility

Of parole.

Robbed of

Freedom.

Wingspan clipped

To the lock

At the end of

A chain

Of events.

Imprisoned

Without fault

But the adversity

And sorrow

Of its birth.

 

 

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Lock

 

 

The Blues

TheBlues NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

Stand up

To the dimming of

The light

By cruel

Injustice.

Be the lone voice

If you

Must.

Hold tall

Against the winds

That wish to

Break right

Into wrong

And form

Wrong

Into common practice.

Behold the skies

In blues

And clouded

Sorrow,

Even as you keep

Fighting for

Better today

And a just

Tomorrow.

 

 

 

For July Blues

 

 

Unworthy

three line tales, week 158: a border with a barbed wire fence

Photo: Robert Hickerson via Unsplash

 

They brought them in at dark, under the covers of secrecy and night.

Children, torn from loved ones, placed behind barbed wire, watched by burly guards.

“Your fault for coming,” they were told. “And now you’re too much work to reunite.”

 

 

For Three Line Tales

 

Un-Pacified

Womens March instagram Onyvava

Instagram/@onyvava

 

One cannot pacify hatred

By fueling more hate,

Just as violence will not be calmed

Via harming.

Arguments aren’t settled

When truths are shut up,

Nor can peace be made by

The war-glorifying.

There is no equality

While oppression is sought

And brutality cannot

Bring on healing.

So rallies where ‘greatness’

Is clothed in cruel acts

Breed not power nor awe

But disdain,

As leadership’s hubris is paid

By the vulnerable

Again and again.

 

Merriam-Webster’s word for August 3, 2018:

Pacify

This post continues the blogging challenge in which Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day, serves as inspiration a-la the “Daily Prompt.”

Want to join me? Feel free to link to this post on your blog, and/or post a link to your blogpost in the comment section below so others can enjoy it, too. Poetry, photography, short stories, anecdotes: Go for it!

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Do Not Be Reticent

child-us-mexico-border Photo - AP Gregory Bull

Photo: AP / Gregory Bull

 

Do not be reticent

About the truth.

When stolen children

Cry

Deprived of trust

Of hope

Of warmth,

Those of us who have

A voice

Must use it,

For the helpless

Cannot.

 

Merriam-Webster’s word for July 27, 2018:

Reticent

This post continues the blogging challenge in which Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day, serves as inspiration a-la the “Daily Prompt.”

Want to join me? Feel free to link to this post on your blog, and/or post a link to your blogpost in the comment section below so others can enjoy it, too. Poetry, photography, short stories, anecdotes: Go for it!

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Apparatchik Acolyte

Spine Fig111 GrayHenry1918

Spine; Gray Henry 1918

 

Beware of being blinded

By the application

Of flattery

(Or use of abuse)

To gain influence

For harm.

For if you do turn into

A servile acolyte

There is no end

To the baser motives

That you, too, will

Become.

 

 

Merriam-Webster’s word for July 21, 2018:

Acolyte

This post continues the blogging challenge in which Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day, serves as inspiration a-la the “Daily Prompt.”

Want to join me? Feel free to link to this post on your blog, and/or post a link to your blogpost in the comment section below so others can enjoy it, too. Poetry, photography, short stories, anecdotes: Go for it!

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Obviated Healing

adult aged baby care

Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

 

If I could just forestall the suffering

Of little ones

Locked by a heartless bind

And prevented even from the comfort

Of their parents’ loving arms.

If I could somehow stave off

Their sorrow

And their helpless rage

For what should never have been made

Reality

At their tender age.

If only we all raised our voices

And demanded cruelty stop,

Maybe those who caused the pain

And obviate the healing

Will make way

For better others

Who would lead not by agony

But hope.

 

 

Merriam-Webster’s word for July 14, 2018:

Obviate

This post continues the blogging challenge in which Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day, serves as inspiration a-la the “Daily Prompt.”

Want to join me? Feel free to link to this post on your blog, and/or post a link to your blogpost in the comment section below so others can enjoy it, too. Poetry, photography, short stories, anecdotes: Go for it!

For more visibility, tag your post with #WordOfDayNY, so your post can be searchable.

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