After they’d had at the indigenous,
they set upon the endogenous.
They offered never-before-seen chemistry
with a will unbridled by consequences.
They stumped the masses by selling them
on what they hadn’t noticed
were their definitive ailments.
For lubricating parts of the mechanical
19th century body, they held up
alcohol mixed with oil of the snake.
They demonstrated a concerted interest
in destroying forests one tree at a time.
They labelled the collected sum of bottom lines
the economy, running it up the flagpole.
They employed divisions of the public
relations crowd who banked on the importance
of stupendous goods, to bypass reason
and sink pseudo-Freudian roots in stupidity.
They unstudied what they were fed in school
from the earliest feed-lot appearance
busting with pride over the defeat of nature.
They grabbed chaos by the tiger tornado
to parcel it out on the know-all market
using locomotive steam-driven ditch-digging rigs,
gold compasses, and unbending T-squares.
They came marching out of Europe and firing,
before sitting on a tinder box of denial
and assumed exceptionalism: they couldn’t stop
extending their reach through every port
across every spread they could possibly claim.
Muscled Off the Plane for Your Protection
A mooling trek in a velvet ball gown unbridled by innocence.
A mint-shut leaf-over of Bavarian warrior royalty in an elk rut.
A mother among us with a firm grip on the upturned hull.
A white dog with balding white eyes of trans-Arctic melting.
An eschatological belief unsnapping leathers down to torturous
meaninglessness pouring off the human trunk in a flood
of root-combed bone-making that drives the air ahead.
An unequal distribution where nobody’s watching, if not dancing
for the quickly damned adumbrations of us.
A goose-necked train station sawing mammoth guillotine drops
into beautiful bones of distantly stranded sea birds.
A few system failures that cause suffering, but for only a while
with dungeonous severage on the downslope of oil.
A few fresh pallets of culturally activated incendiary devices
aching over the years as if something definitive
should be done to stop the deaths of the animals.
A leftover of hundreds of tons a second factory-floor machinery
in NASA booster assembly plants here in the primal cauldron.
A trio of gospel women swaying to radical shammering tambourine
stops and starts, in their luminous ultramarine satin robes.
A blond burst stealing away where the means of production are
finally returned to local hands around public
re-enactments of angry men impervious to front-line
questioning nextdoor to your own prehistoric undoing.
With another’s top-down rural electrification of the gargantuan
up-mothered machine of berserk overseas war
outlined in bold Rouault fanning out in undertow.
A thinly veiled onyx-scarlet rock muscling the self ahead of light.
A demonstration of cells that eventually assembled into neo-cortex
around R-complex with courageous longing
at the time of cellular birth, waging the impossible
through discontent that unfrocks and swipes its blade.
A sleep-bewrenched silence nailed down by roadside motel neon.
With a fresh spike of externalized heat, contemplative and bawdy
from an unfinished future squeezing mammoth bellows
of unusual psychic beauty and harshness forced
onto colt-thick attempts not to vanish in our time.
The Time of a Few Gargantuan Nest Eggs
There is no trickle down, only a siphoning up from the toiling many
to the moneyed few. - Michael Parenti
The blood sports of billionaire money-mongers leaving 100s
of 1000s’ homelessness unanswered.
The wisdom of an army of money traveling on a few thin dimes
of the masses who have no choice.
The safety in having so much money in vaults no one would know
how to spend it, unless she’s a billionaire.
The security in possessing money so heavy none of the serving
persons could carry it off. Period.
The beauty of astronomical numbers of bucks siphoned up
from everyone else under midnight stars.
The astonishing contributions of computerization to laundering
unbridled billionaire campaign investment.
The lunacy around religiously owning so much no one can tell
if your image proves you’re a god.
The difficulty of forbidding rank trespassers on your newly
and suddenly privatized public lots.
The one billion that spawns millions without doing anything
or being touched by anyone else.
The immaculate conception with billionaire parthenogenesis
absent the local community.
The problem of the Constitution not establishing hoarding rights
of monomaniacal money-mongers.
The insurmountable burden of urgency in the craven desire to
collect astronomically huge money.
The upside-down world as billionaires take credit for efforts
of the managers and serving persons.
The lethal involuntary money-mongering instantaneously at war
against human-with-human cooperation.
The archaic ritual of primordial reckonings having a field day
with the needy who remain anonymous.
The paleoconservatives in their liberty behind razor wire and armed
guard towers smoking familial stogies.
The molecular impression of providence buoyant on the sea
of symbiotic mostly unnamed microorganisms.
The disembodied distortions that bargain for cut-throat executions
of the market in invisibility.
The gargantuan money-hoarding which endures chronic suffering
of others without having to trouble itself.
The rancid spikes of leachate and drool that trickle down off the lip
of wealth’s landfills dripping into watersheds.
The cherubic rich cabinet permanently pressed for wont of Central
Intelligence getting when the getting’s good.
The ease with which money flows and splashes over rocks and talks
louder than one person thinking.
The innocent coal miners sweetly perishable in downhill slides
of money melting until veins collapse.
The fluffed-up agenda of wealth contingent on the invisible hand
of transnational exhortations.
James Grabill’s work appears online at Terrainonline, Calibanonline, Ginosko, Sequestrum, and others. He has written the books Poem Rising…. (1994) and An Indigo Scent… (2003) from Lynx House Press, and Sea-Level Nerve: I (2014) & II (2015), Wordcraft of Oregon. He has written a new collection from Cyberwit in India: Branches Shaken by Light. For many years in Portland, he taught writing and global issues relative to sustainability.