Tainted Orange


There is something morbid

About the bright orange jumpers

Worn by inmates

Like fluorescent blood

Smeared over the remains

Of a crime scene

Sins annulled

By concealment

If only color could


The darkness within


When I was a child

I went to the first

Of many funerals

My uncle came wearing

His shocking veneer

Like a Chinese paper lantern

He came with armed guards

And shades of violence

Reflected in heavy chains


If only he’d had a mask

So I wouldn’t have seen

His bladed grin

Or his face laid out

In merciless lines

He’d raped a 16 year old girl


By the act of defilement

He stood proud


My father pushed me

In his direction

I tripped forward

In compulsory greeting

The officers’ hands

On the hilts

Of concealed weapons

As he wrapped

The chains around

My reticent frame


I became cadaverous in his arms

Ponderous and mute

Not even a whispered breath

I don’t remember his words

For the pulse

Of my rampant heart

Only the choked sobs of relief

When, under threat,

He released


true story


Why the willow weeps

Your gnarled spine bows

Forward in remorse

Tethered by the roots, you pray

A voiceless soldier denied salvation


Rigid arthritic limbs

Contort in archaic gesture

Frozen in the postures of a grim dance.

Quietly you await the music

That will unmake the world


Serpentine, your filaments drip down

Skirting the river’s edge

Weeping by the shore

Sacred mother trapped in eternal mourning

Your freedom the destruction of all


(This my story of why the weeping willow weeps. When she is finally free to dance she will unmake the world. Baring such an enormous burden she spends her days cast down in prayers that go unanswered.)