Life expectancy

Here is a poem I wrote, prompted by estimates of rising life expectancy across most of the world, so that on average we might live into our nineties, if not beyond.

Life expectancy

At fifty-one I sleep in loss,

Broken at last on fortune’s wheel.

To ninety-one I wander with a pauper’s plan;

No early grave to relieve my failing heart,

My cerebellum longing for more serotonin,

My fingers still restlessly searching

Through these ghostly keys.

Do I expect in forty years

To see the world turn and break again

The purity seal

My eleven year old child

Wrapped around my fate?

Will great words return again

Salvaged from our wretched wreck

By toiling troubadors?

Will walls fall? Will heroes sing?

Will we see Mao’s kind again?

Will money lose its hard-won shine?

Or will these years slide on by

As I recede into comfort?

Will oblivion be my friend at last?

Will silence guard my end?

All I know is one more day.



Here is a poem I wrote a couple of months ago amidst the endless stream of bad news we must face each and every day.


The talk today is of war and civil strife

Jacked cars and hijacked souls

Shootings, beheadings and preachers of hate

Two parties shouting across a beige panel

A drowned child sacrificed to fear and spite

Fissured identities, spelled out in letters

Too long and too changing.

Confuse the unmoored past.

Bombs that tear open concrete hearts

Of ancient cities we no longer know

Two men in windcheaters rape a babe

A grieving maddened child submits to death

In a SUV that is filmed on its way

To a scarred and deserted paradise