Déjà vu

Nikolai Ge, What Is Truth. Christ and Pilate

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,
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.

First published in Lunch Ticket, Amuse Bouche: Spotlight series, January 1, 2020

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