Sunday, October 16, 2016

Michelle Heard the News



She ran up to her room,
cried with her head on the pillow,
then threw up in the toilet.
Finally, she slept and dreamed
rutted roads, rotting barns,
and twilight bats she took
for songbirds.
And then next morning,
she felt grubby hands on her,
middle aged men who leered from cars,
or old farmers with liver spots.
And she spat out all food.
It tasted of cardboard left in the rain.

And then she spent the afternoon
with the boy she really wished had made her pregnant.
They even kissed, tasted tongues.
He grabbed at her breast with that explorer's eagerness,
like it was the first time anyone was going there.
His kisses were like white chocolate,
sweet, but nothing that her stomach
hadn't heard before.
She longed to press her head against his chest
and cry.
Or even better, open him up and retch inside.
Or open herself up
and free her guts of the rutted roads,
rotting barns, and those damn songbirds
that she knew too well were bats.
His hands were on her.
Maybe he'd devour her.
For wasn't she cardboard.
And didn't she lie out in the rain.
And for no reason other than
the rain spoke pretty, showed an interest paper-thin.


--John Grey

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Speak Your Peace: Loren Marsden


This peace was originally performed on May 22 @ Cha Island for our local Speak Your Peace event! It was awesome. You shoulda been. 


Status Quo 

Fill out the form, schedule the meeting
Though chance of improvement is definitely fleeting
Honor “due process”, it's what you must follow
Despite that the system is completely hollow

That's the thing with chain of command.
What it really means is you are on the bottom of the food chain.
What they meant when they welcomed you on their crew,
is you need to learn your place-cause you're new.

Won't drink the Kool-Aid,
at the toxic water cooler
Though everyone insists,
your dues must be paid.

Perhaps this is why they hate,
become terribly irate
Wade in mediocrity pool.
“Put up and shut up” is the silent, long-held rule.

Sprinkle the egg-shells
for this arduous dance
We Cha-Cha around the truth we'll never tell.

“Fabricate is a word we don't use in this house.”
But we'll eagerly gobble assumptions and gossip at the trough.
Excuse me if I wish to be apart from these animals, seeking refuge in the loft.



“You play with fire, you're gonna get burned.”
So says the condescending friend,
who thinks I haven't learned.
What she doesn't realize,
is even through this demise,
I'm about to split into a thousand fireworks
we will explode the route scenic,
for my second time around as the Phoenix.

Honey, this ain't my first rodeo.
So sit back, and see the art of survival, done by a pro.

I would rather swim alone in gasoline,
with my team leader smugly waving a match-book
Than toddle around like all of you wooden puppets,
Adorned with identical vacant looks.

Towing the party line of the status quo.
Though it will cost the people in our care the best we could show

“I just work here” -Yes, that's very clear.
As you boss me on precisely how to cut the celery.

Can I have your permission to go to the loo?
Or perhaps would you like to join
instruct on how to wipe my ass, in a way that's oh so new?

“Anything you can do, I can do better!”
This would be an appropriate bumper sticker for your car
Sit and think on it, maybe bold font, pink letters?

Lady, you could give the FBI a run for its' money
Everything with you is a federal case,
I wonder if your micro-managing pocket, holds a can of Mace.

The Syrians are fleeing, their home and native land
But you'll plant your flag in the Village of Trivial & Inconsequential,
It is there you'll take your stand.

This disgusting house is a haven of Stepford Wives.
All buzzing around in our hives,
paying reverence to the “Queen Bee.”

Painting on our plastic smiles.
Oh sorry, was mine beginning to droop?
Forgive me, for not putting you in the loop.

“Well Loren, you're very sensitive and emotional.”
So that is the magical spell,
That Queen Bee will attempt,
To keep me locked in my hell
With a Dragon feasting upon my mental health

Yes, protect the Dragon in her foul layer
Though she abuses me continually, let's not cease to pay her.

If there was an award, for passive aggression
You'd win it  hands down, there'd be no other nominees
You'd clutch the award in the shape of a broom
You'd proudly take in accolades, of how you clean on your hands and knees
You are by far, the most hard-working person in the room

If Ebeneezer Scrooge were in want of a wife,
You'd charm him I'm sure
Both of you could host conferences,
On how to squander this one precious life.

If I could be your ghost of Christmas future, I would haunt all your dreams
I'd warn you the world is only as dark as you make it seem

There's enough Lysol here, to last 'till Kingdom come
But it won't disinfect the imprint left on me, from being under your thumb.

I'm popping Tums like candy,
For horrid heart-burn
The outside of our home looks fine and dandy
Inside is rotting from the bridges we've burned
I suspect I have an ulcer, from the Dragon's flame
There is no amount of arrogance, my shield could tame

She fries me like bacon, until I'm practically crispy,
Flames from her ignorance,
light the end of my rope,  until it's frayed and wispy.

Perhaps all I need is that pretty red bottle,
Next time you insist with my chores I doddle,
I can spray the cloud of compressed carbon dioxide,
Since you know, you've sucked all the oxygen out of the room, this cannot be denied.

In a cloudy haze you'd be extinguished,
I'd be clapped on the back, and they'd call my quick-thinking distinguished.


But this isn't a fairytale, sometimes the dragon wins.
Though I'd gladly throw you in a dungeon, so you could think over your sins.

Queen Bee, If you insist on putting me under scrutiny,
I guarantee a mutiny
I've swam the moat
And now I'm here to rock your boat

I call a cease-fire to warning shots across the bow
Cowards hide in the galley with Conflict of Interest forms.
Hold the gun to my head, here out in the storm.

You made your bed, it's there you must lay
Though for your lack of judgment, you'd like me to pay
I'm here to support these sailors in the great big sea,
I'm not paid to play along with the Dragon's O.C.D.

Row row row your boat, gently down this stream,
There's too many captains, and not enough oars on this team.
While you all are busy arguing over who wears the prettiest life jacket,
I see an iceberg, I'm blowing my whistle loudly.
“Shut up Loren, you're making too much racket.”
But that's okay, I'll keep up the shrill pitch. I'll do it proudly.

No time for a knight, and so I draw my sword,
I'll pierce through the heart, of this dingy on thin ice,
I fight for justice, even if it means I'm first overboard.
The chilly depths would be bath-water, compared to your iron-like vice.
It seems I have defected, and committed high treason.
And for what reason?
I journeyed above the queen,
sought the head of monarchy.
Apparently, this was all a bunch of malarkey.

Queen Bee, you'd take from my table, my bread and my butter,
All because I asked your boss, to deal with my co-worker, an absolute nutter.

Did I stomp on your pride,
since boss-lady corrected you
You didn't figure, in her I'd confide
I'd do it again in a heart-beat,
Though this chaotic River-Dance
Has spun me to the street.

Until now, your agenda was coated in honey,
It ain't over 'till the fat lady sings.
I'd say the opera is right on the money
This sick Act is closing, because at last I see, Queen Bee stings.

“You said everything was fine Loren.” accuses Queen Bee.
No, that's a lie you told yourself, as you rolled my concerns
into a long-term relationship with the dust bunnies underneath the carpet.

I'm sad my team is governed by fear
That law can take a long walk off a short pier.

Perhaps what we needed, before our gown and tassel.
Before we took off to storm the castle
A P.H.D. In Politics of the Workplace
And the lengths superiors go to, just to save face.

Cue up the Pomp and Circumstance,
Our little graduate has a minor in Bullshit Detection,
And a major in Boundary Assertion.
Just don't be surprised, if society votes you off the island, come next election

“Oh the places you'll go!” rhymed Dr. Seuss
What he didn't tell you, is that they'll drop you
mid-battle, with a dragon on the loose

“Have some pizza”, the sweet offer from  Queen Bee.
“Enjoy. I would, but I'm on a diet.”
Yes, your constant reminder you are healthier and by extension, better than the rest of us, is such a riot.

“You shouldn't eat chocolate Loren.
It's bad for your skin.”

My inventory of uneducated and nosy is fully stocked.
Maybe come back later, when the door isn't locked.
How about never? That work for you?
Cause that is about the time, you're going to get a clue.

Before this group of Chromosome X,
I worked with a team of Chromosome Y.
It was hard, I'm not gonna lie.
Let me tell you, roosters seem obnoxious,
Until you are sent to the hen house.



If indeed you love to hear yourself talk,
I could give you a private room and a mirror
Don't worry, I won't disturb with any knock
Maybe then you'll see what I see, maybe it will be a bit clearer.

Only the threatened pull rank
So naturally you'll hide 'round the corner,
brandishing a shank

Queen Bee, you'll excuse my limp
My spine is crooked from walking off your knife
You refuse truth-even if it flew by splattered on a blimp
Even if it shrieked from a fife.

Maybe for my next job I'll sport a bullet-proof vest.
Just in case I stumble upon another bee's nest.

You can be the sad little queen, of your sad little hill,
And my position I'm sure you'll take no time to fill

As we watched Obama's address:
Queen Bee concluded: “Politics. It's not about us. It's about them.”
How ironic and well-timed.
That's what I've come to know about you, surveying the mountain I've climbed.

Perhaps for them all the pay cheque is the end of the line,
But that isn't why I'm here, so indeed I must resign.


**For Ed Major, who taught me I am powerful.**