In Captivity [Free Verse]

bars at your back,

and their stripes
 permanently etched 
  into one's field of vision.

so much so, 
 that you feel they're 
  a ubiquitous feature
   of the world beyond. 

the cage should be a hated place,
 but one can grow to love the cage.

the cage is shelter.

the cage is delivery address
 for food & water disbursements.

the cage forms rollbars --
  like on a dune buggy --
   protection in the event 
    of a sudden & unexpected crash.

the cage offers one a range --
 narrow as it might be --
  of distances at which one's captor
   may be kept,

and, as long as the cage is shut,
 that gives one a delightful 
  illusion of control. 

what a hated place a cage should be,
 and yet how conflicted are the captives?

Elephantine March [Free Verse]

The herd is on the march.

They lumber with slow

The young achieve   
       playful swagger,
        but aren't allowed
         too wide of the line. 

I wonder whether they're
       going someplace good?

Love Locks [Free Verse]

Wandering through a new city,
 I come upon a bridge:
  its rails loaded with locks.
   They call them "love locks."

It gets me wondering how many locks
 long outlived the love they memorialized?

How many were lust locks --
 linked to the bridge before 
  the couple really knew each other's
   vexing peccadillos?

How many were like ill-advised back tattoos,
 a lover's name - someone one met in Vegas - 
    and whose name one wouldn't
       otherwise remember, 
     were it not inked across one's spine
        in a 120-point flame-festooned font?

Mongoose Crossing [Free Verse]

A mongoose crosses the road.
 My mind makes it Rikki Tikki Tavi.

Is there a cobra in the tall grass?
 Is this a heroic mongoose? 

The mongoose disappears from sight,
 and I'm left with no answers. 

Music Appreciation [Free Verse]

Not by hearing or listening,
     but by feeling the rhythm,
     body / mind resonating to it, 
     being effortlessly attuned to it:

That is how the music transports one --
            how it changes one's mind. 

Spared the Human Curse [Free Verse]

Seven Sages were spared the sickness
 of perceiving the possibility of perfection,
  a "perception" of the patently impossible --
   in truth, just dim and flimsy imaginings of mind,

   and, so, they didn't mind the inevitable
     flaws of the human world. 

Language Liquidity [Free Verse]

language is liquid;
 meaning meanders.

 in the long-run,
  meanings are meaningless,
    untethered and adrift 
      in an ocean of possibility.

[political words' meanings 
   don't drift, but tumble with
      whiplash violence through
         a desert of the possible.

 But, predictably, the first variation
    of a political word is the exact
      opposite of its original meaning.]