At the Speed of Light

The consciousness of the universe surrounds us all
as though our heads were hives as billions of bees
buzz round and round coiling at the speed of light.

Thus enabled, we observe the world unfolding now,
in real time rather than retrospect, darkness shut out
while enlightenment illuminates the road to eternity.

Our political pundits routinely deploy torrid rhetoric,
maybe quite convincing but not necessarily pertinent.

The cityscape remains the same chaotic maelstrom:
jets overhead, motorcycle echo, ambulance blaring.

The people off to work as usual, so nothing is amiss.

None exceed your energy but everybody matches it.

Nothing missing since the pot of gold glows closer
the further away you soar, with no end to the glory.

The Wax Museum

On the crowded streets of modern Cannery Row
visitors from around the world flock like pigeons
come to boost their moods amid the candy, curios,
ocean spray, hotels, seafood, music and neon signs.
In the basement of an indoor boutique bazar wait
virtual humanoids locked in time, their presentations
recorded, canned. They indoctrinate visitors despite
the fact that they’re constructed primarily of wax.

Before I engage the possible misadventure
of taking a walk through that musky cellar,
I sit motionless on a bench outside, contemplate
beside the popular Bubba Gump shrimp house,
when I feel I’m being shanghaied by regression,
mind tossed back to a Monterey of the Ohlone,
of missionaries, fishermen, writers, pirates,
madams, salmon and sardines by the millions.

As I walk past the Sterling Silver gift shop
I note the cute pink dolphin plush for sale
on the ticket taker’s railing. I bid farewell to
Gourmet Express and the Bargetto wine room
then watch my step down a dusty stairway
and descend to where those figures reside.
They’re oblivious to the twenty-first century,
posturing factoids lacking minds of their own.

Once inside the museum, individual scenes light up
when I press big red buttons, and set in motion those
sculpted and clothed impostors with heads, hands
and lips moving in concert with their narrations,
historical depictions first of the native Indians,
followed by Spanish explorers, Mexican settlers,
and a most official John Steinbeck presiding over
cannery workers that toil all day at a conveyor.

These half-art mechanisms, purveyors of pain,
remind us that mortality is a moment away.
Although they’d command me I will not yield:
my psyche bolts over a solid blue ocean as I
view the grizzly bear getting gored by a bull
and father Serra pitching Indians Catholicism.
Then in my imagination I watch those dummies
prance in a pool of molten paraffin and acid tears.

Grappling Gods

That tendency to want to crawl into a corner,
ball up and hide away so as to minimize impact
is overwhelming when reality seems oblivious
and is plentiful reason for lasting consternation.

Administration of justice in our modern society
fouled by conspiracy theories and fierce conflict.
We build what we can from who we are because
everything we ever will be we’ve already become.

Nauseating commercials everywhere you look.
We combine plastic waste with bitumen to make
more lasting roads. Food vendors on the streets
are sympathizers of progressive cell phone geeks.

It will take progressive measures to shake
general lethargy poets feel when they write
about innocuous problems, sexual imaginings,
and indestructible gods they must grapple with.