by George Payne 

Our Own

The status quo is killing our soul.
Life is not about paying the mortgage.

It is not okay that your cousin works at
the bomb factory. It doesn’t matter that they
call it an integrated manufacturing center.

We are slowly being cooked by the schemes
of normal. Normal is not electing a president
who became rich for building failed casinos and
a celebrity for firing people on a “reality” tv show.

The status quo is killing our soul. It is not all about retiring.
What in life retires? If an elephant seal retires it will be eaten by an orca.

Nothing about the status quo is working. You know we do not
need to have enemies. If we choose, we can love everyone.
That’s not insane. That’s just an option.

You know, I can even love ISIS if I want to. Or even Hitler. I can love
anything and anyone, at any time, I can love. Fascism is the denial of love.

You know that you are in a fascist state when the “leaders” tell
you who can be loved and under what circumstances.

Let me be clear: I do not love ISIS or Hitler. I choose to hate them.
But no one can tell me that I cannot love them if I want to.

The status quo is suffocating us. There is nothing okay with the way we shop.
Plastic inside of the plastic. Consuming as much plastic as possible just because
it is on sale. That’s insane. Cyclones taking down entire countries. Floods drowning
Nebraska. Weather out of control. The future made irrelevant by a pack of pundits.

Just a bunch of people casting votes that ensure we will fuck the place up a little sooner
than expected. Is that normal? Is that what we were born to inherit? Is that worth it?

If we are alive, someone else isn’t. Do we have a duty
to tell them that we care about having a life we know is our own?

More Than an Enemy

More than an enemy,
we are that as well.

A netherworld of suffering.

A hole through the chest,
big enough to stick a fist through.

We grew this way; we are this kind
of species. Under construction.

Disembodied. Rising.

Like jumbled chunks of sea ice.
Becalmed by the ocean.

An oracle or ordinary friends, all leaving
my world like perfect strangers.

About the Author:

George Cassidy Payne is a poet from Rochester, New York (U.S.). His work has been included in such publications as the Hazmat Review, Allegro Poetry Journal, MORIA Poetry Journal, Chronogram Magazine, Bohemian Renaissance, Tea House, the Mindful Word, Ampersand Literary Review, Amethyst Review,The Echo World, Talker of the Town, Pulsar, The Angle at St. John Fisher College and several others. George’s blogs, essays and letters have appeared in Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, USA Today. the Toronto Star, The Havana Times, Nonviolence Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, the South China Morning Post, The Buffalo News, Rochester City Newspaper and more.