Déjà vu

Nikolay Nikolayevich Ge, “What is Truth?” Christ and Pilate, 1890.
Image from Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia


Déjà vu

No matter what comes into the house, a letter, today’s paper, you are convinced you have already seen it.
~ Rosmarie Waldrop “The Almost Audible Passing of Time”


Nouns drop from their perches,
seeking a less
hate-driven sentence,
aiming for purpose or purchase
or mere acceptance.

Freedom gives way to cages.
Fewer of us hide
secret urges—many more
exalt them in churches.
What’s next? Pogroms and purges?
More shootings? More dirges?

Headlines stoke rages, scorch pages,
expose morons and sages,
a game of chess
played on multiple stages
where gold wears a crown and pawns
die no matter their ages, or wages,
or their broken truth-gages.

Meanwhile, children are handled like wedges.

We’re tenants of empty pledges,
shot at foe-friends
from faux practice ranges.
We’re dredged
of our hunger for changes,
mired in petty exchanges,
but welcome to walk off ledges.
We’re screwed until stripped of our edges.

Fear is trimming our hedges.

Truth? We alternate-stretch it.
With ink, we newspaper-scratch it.
With marble, monument-etch it.
When in doubt, we Supreme-Court-patch it,
crucify it, booby-hatch it.
If all else fails, we can safely
slow-match it.


Prompt courtesy of Poets United, where Susan’s challenge for the Midweek Motif is to “Speak to Lady Liberty, or let Her speak in your new poem.” Were she allowed to speak, I believe Liberty would mourn the demise of truth. She would muse on the uncanny resemblance of our current patch of history to numerous historical, mythological, and literary dystopias. It’s Animal Farm all over again, folks.

13 thoughts on “Déjà vu

Add yours

  1. Wow! The driving rhythm of this piece compelled me faster and faster until I reached the math. O! Then I read it again. Powerful, powerful writing. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! The energy flow of your words grabs the reader by the tonsils and won’t let go, until the very end. Have an image of a long fuse cord being laid out, for the last line of verse, ready to blow everything up, in utter frustration. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

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