Three Poems

The Village


I was the sacrifice.
Embarrassing how predictable that was.
The pushback to establish a boundary
So you could feel somehow substantial,
Establish your porous self
While the fantasy fell apart all around you.
You could not sustain it;

you could not sustain it.

I was the offering
     the scapegoat.

It’s boring, really.

Richard said, “Here it comes,
It will all be laid at your feet.”

You know, I got kicked out of the village,
expiation for their sins.
Now I know what happens to the victim.
They cohere; you disintegrate.

Go ahead, try to name it,
“You are making me the scapegoat.”
See what happens.

Takes a long time to remove the cloak.
They won’t take it off, ever.
The narrative they carry depends on it.
You simply must remove it,
and get the hell out of the village.


Open Pit Mine


Wrap your fist around the handle of a butcher knife
and drive it deep into the flesh,
into musculature and vital organs.
Feel the soft resistance as what holds together is torn apart.

Drive it deep into the flesh,
then carve an opening until the guts pour out.
Then scoop it all away.

See if you can do it without harming the environment,
tear the wound open with strict environmental regulations.
Let the deeply buried toxins surface into air and water,
into matter and spirit…

see if it turns into god,
or see which god arises.
It’s one helluva powerful feeling.

The pit that is opened is opened.
What lived in what is now space, empty and laden,
no longer lives – it is not there anymore.
What is killed remains killed.

If this is the best we can do to create a human economy,
then this is exactly what we will get.


Where it will


…is how the wind blows,
a clash of extremes;
something sets off the disturbance,
contrasting currents of air,
different degrees of temperature,
an upsurge of moisture
off a late afternoon
sun-drenched surface
meets cold air aloft.

You feel the wind off the storm,
cold, fierce, penetrating.
It howls.
Puts people on edge as the skies darken.

Straight-line winds can tear off
the roof of a house,
take down the trees out back,
create a real mess.

When it’s all over,
you assess the damage,
see what survived.
Then the clean-up begins.

There are better ways to govern.

—Margaret Swedish, Milwaukee, WI