Writes With Pencils

fiction, memoir, essays and poetry

Tag: Social Commentary

Income Inequality #1

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Stacks of pallets, now
deluxe beds for homeless, once
brought phones from China.

The Sound of Progress

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Did the inventors
of the electric motor
and the combustion engine
understand that they
were the first assailants
on the peace and sanity
of the modern mind?

So much whirring of fans,
grinding of gears,
spinning of wheels,
and pounding of pistons.

Such unnatural sounds,
all hard planes and sharp edges,
bombard and assault us
leaving invisible bruises
that bleed inward and ache.

Such unnatural sounds,
metallic and inhuman,
exist to make
to create
to innovate
and improve, but
have destroyed
nature’s silence
as they built the first world.

Invisible in Plain Sight

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Even if her sign
were illuminated in neon
she would be invisible.
We drive right by,
safely in our cars,
or glance down at our phones,
or the sidewalk,
as we walk past.
We don’t look her in the eye as she
stands on the corner
with her cardboard sign,
trying to get her life back on track.
We don’t look her in the eye as we
assume she’s an addict
or a swindler,
judge her failures
or her sanity,
feel contempt for her inability
to make it like the rest of us.
We’ve had hard times
and we’ve pulled through.
She’s not like us.

But to pull yourself up by your bootstraps
you must first already have
boots,
with straps.

And the real reason
we don’t look her in the eye
is the fear of our own reflection there,
our fear of recognizing
that we too could be
one layoff,
or one illness,
or one trauma,
or one devastating loss away
from the isolation
and humiliation
of standing on a corner
with a cardboard sign,
invisible.

Snooze Button

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It is a criminal,
a thief who steals
the peace of morning light
and restful final minutes of true sleep.

For the cult of busi-ness
we stretch our days
beyond their natural course
and light-polluted, starless nights
become an ever-shortened nuisance.

To profit faceless companies
we box ourselves in cubicles
and stare at screens
which mark our time
but rob our bodies’ knowledge
of day and night,
spring and summer,
fall and winter.

No longer do we spend short nights
around a fire mending nets,
following long days of fishing
through the salmons’ homeward run.
No longer do we celebrate
the sweet arrival of strawberries,
having settled for their tasteless clones
all winter long.

Do I dare to be a barefoot rebel?
What would happen if I
turned off my screens
and went to bed with the setting of the sun?
Would the world still hold its orbit if I
ignored the calendar
and felt the fresh-cut grass between my toes?
What dreams could I remember,
what beauty could I create,
what kindness and compassion
could I share if I simply
banished the alarm clock
and let my body sleep
until it had its fill?

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