After a night of dreams about prisons
the baker rises early to punch dough
she squints and yells at the poor apprentice
the yeast of anger falls as spring snow.
Back when I was young but not too busy
I could not discern what to learn or forego
in a bag I tossed being beaten and winning
plus dirt and water to see how it would grow.
The world is a factory of inclinations
a machine at work in the fields and air
in all the squishy corners of subtle nature
a stepwise transformation of young squares
toward a recombining of edge and strand
tying and untying the ropes between acres
within the same taut and experienced
center of every decision maker.
Before you buy roses the florist slays
long necked buds on generous stems
he who feeds a family hunts for days
tracking and smelling the unwilling victim.
We build up and blow down fences of fire
of cuss words and kisses, of bile and barb wire
whenever face to face with a lower god
we pierce its heart and move on to a higher.
Love does not clear a garden of weeds
or stand up to a gang of thieves with knives
love insufficient must be mixed and tempered
then heated, banged on and cooled striving
for a balance out of the reach of the simple
I know the murderer and I cut off his arm
the bully and abuser I greet with a cudgel
my basest instincts now harmless and useful.
The modern dieties and their silly followers
reduced reality to niceness but violence
still claims the best of our desperate hours
the goat in us still married to the lioness.