Thursday, April 27, 2006

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Three Dollars
“Over three dollars a gallon!”
You stare at that pump
and your head begins its slow
side to side wag of disgust.
“What has this world come to?

Indeed, in your scheme of priorities,
it doesn’t get much worse than this.
How could it?
How could it possibly get worse than this?

You really haven’t thought this through,
have you?

Right now,
somewhere in the East Congo,
a young girl has just had her
arm lopped off with a machete.
A machete welded by
some teenage member of… what?
The Lord’s Resistance Army?
Is that the current flavor of death?
And this…?
This is not the
worse she’s experienced.
There was more.
Much more.

And this morning,
there on page six where you
just placed your coffee cup,
a small paragraph contains the words
‘village’ and ‘atrocity’.
The two words pass into your mind and
there, that
first one is absorbed with ease, but
No. Not so easy.

Better option?
Let it slip.
Let it slide into some closet
there in the back of your mind to
emerge later as a viable word for the
crossword puzzle.

It would appear that in the scheme of things,
young Congolese girls rank pretty low
But listen now: you are not
Bad things were happening in Iraq.
You know this.
You’re informed.
You listened to your leaders.
Indeed, there were things so bad that
we as a nation
had to step in and
do something.
Because we care.
Because we can.

There in our nation’s
passionate wake
you’d like to think we’d left the world
a better place.
Did we?
Did we leave prosperity
or devastation?

And standing there at the pump,
you find yourself pondering the value of things.
Yes, while sons and daughters,
Iraqi and American,
continue to die,
you look on in disgust as
yet another three dollars worth of gas
registers there on the pump’s display.
“Three dollars
for a gallon of gas!”

And there
as our national values
surge through the hose
to end in your precious automobile,
I have one last item
for you to assess as to worth.
Just what dollar amount
would you attribute
to a young girls arm?

Red on black on black.
A mud so black
yet void of oil.

It would appear that
for most Americans
a black that does not equal oil
is a black on the verge of worthless.

Yes, as the price of gas continues its rise,
and with corporate petroleum ever more in black,
we scream our rage whilst
small black severed arms
lie in the mud,

So very, very priceless,
yet by our pathetic inaction,
conveniently tagged at
three dollars
and dropping.

©06 Jack Hubbell
Funny Bruises
It was a funny bruise.
In appearance, it was sorta like
a yellow happy face.
Yea. I guess you could say it was funny.
But… funny ha-ha
or funny looking?
I suppose it could be both, that is,
depending on
who was doing the viewing.

This quirky little happy faced bruise was
just there on her right cheekbone.
Of course,
you had to get fairly close to be able to
make out the smiley mouth and
those two dots for the eyes.
That is, assuming she’d let you get that close.
She had a problem with people invading her
private zone.

Did I mention her husband was left handed?
I suppose that’s relevant.
Somewhat pertinent to their relationship.

If you were paying attention…
If you were observant,
you’d notice that when they were together,
she’d invariably stand with her right hand
up to the side of her face.
It had gotten to the point where it was almost a
subconscious thing.

You could tell by their body language,
they were a couple… of a sort.
And yet,
there was a time in their lives
before happy faces and automatic flinching.
A time when they were a couple of a somewhat
different sort.
You look at them now with their
perpetual roulette of trauma
and it occurs to you that at one time
they as a couple
actually made love.
Throw your eyes ever so slightly out of focus
and you can visualize the two of them lying there,
side by side,
exchanging a certain
tenderness which
has now been long forgotten.
Soften your vision and you see
his left hand reach out to
caress that same right cheek.
Caress and there brush away
a errant wisp of hair which
would otherwise have
passed between lips of such gentle rapture.

You see all that.
You see... You see
all of that.

What happened?
At what precise moment did it twist and turn?
At what point did it mouse,
swell, blemish, wound?
Just what incident
impacted their entire relationship
and turned it into
one giant contusion?
And yet…
And yet, you don’t see that contusion, do you?
Or rather, you never get a chance to
stand there long enough to make it out.
You vaguely register the little bruises
but those of that sort eventually subside
and sink beneath the skin.

You forget about it all.
That is until the next time when
there they are,
standing before you.
Each arm in arm.
Both of them
putting on a happy face.

©05 Jack Hubbell

Monday, April 24, 2006

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Will Not Have Died In Vain
Something has been spilt,
and in a way I feel responsible.
Oh, it wasn't me, but nonetheless,
a stain has been left.
Something should be done.

Now I must admit it's not a dark stain.
As a matter of fact,
you can hardly discern it's there,
yet there's no denying its presence.
Whatever it is, I can tell it's sweet.
Whatever it is, I can tell it's desirable.
And how do I know this?
Easy. It's the ants.
There's got to be twenty to thirty of those
tiny red sort scurrying back and forth,
one edge of the stain to the other.
Red ants flowing red to red
with red in between, and
there at one edge trailing off the porch
and away into the lawn.
Well okay, we've got a problem here.
I mean,
I've encountered ants of this sort before.
The outcome was not pretty.

You see, those ants kinda figure that
whatever it is, soaked deep into the porch carpet,
it’s somehow theirs for the taking.
It's as if these red ants have decreed some sort of
manifest destiny and a right to that which is
undeniably in my domain.
Call me petty but this I cannot abide.
I step away into the house,
return with a weapon of somewhat enough destruction,
and with the slightest depression of its nozzle,
mow them all down.

And you'd think that would be the end of it.
But no.
Those that I just killed
had nothing to do with the decision to be there.
No. That decision was made a long way away,
somewhere out in the distant green of the yard.

The following morning
I step out onto the porch to now find
hundreds of ants swarming over the invisible stain.
Again the can of Raid comes out.
Again the death.
The morning after,
yet hundreds more,
and with them,
more death.

It all seems
so easy.
You'd think they'd have figured this out.
Imminent domain? Nah.
I live here.
You ants?
You die here.
What were you thinking?
What did you hope to gain?

Pondering their conviction,
I decide to go to the source, and you know,
it's no big deal getting there.
Their being an industrious sort:
what's so hard about finding a hill with
ants spewing out of it?

There deep in the mound,
I can't help but wonder what the
topic of discussion is for the day.
"Ahem... Sir? Sir! I have a question.
Yes sir.
Well over a thousand ants
have died over there on the porch and
all it really amounts to is our desire for what
spilt and soaked into the carpet."
"Absolutely not!"
comes a booming voice from deep in the hole.
"It was never about the stain.
It was about securing the porch.
It was about making the porch safe for all ants.
And what has happened?
Ants have died.
But I want you to know,
those ants will not have died in vain.
It’s hard work. Hard work.
We must stay the course."
"But they're dying by the hundreds," the tiny voice retorts.
And to this the booming voice makes its final rebuttal.
"Yes. And they will not have died in vain."
By the time I return to the porch,
it’s again overrun with a multitude of ants.
I douse the stain with yet another fog of Raid
and when it clears,
I figure there has to be close to 1900 dead ants lying there.

Not about the stain?
Of course it's about the oil.
...Oops! Did I say 'oil'?
I meant stain.
Yes, stain.
It will be about the stain until
there's so much red that
no one cares about the
black stuff ever again.

©05 Jack Hubbell
Zen and the Art of Bowel Movement
People say I’m being anal about this
but all I have to say is,
“No shit.”

©05 Jack Hubbell

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Walking Away
To be driven mad is nothing really.
With very little effort, the
desired effect can
easily be achieved.
All you need is a set of car keys.

Maybe I’ve oversimplified, but
I still don’t think there’s much
effort involved.
Perhaps car keys,
a shared history
and allot of attitude.
The end result can be acquired with this
and the mere initial catalyst of
a marriage license.

The document doesn’t
have to be in the vehicle, as
it works all too well from a distance.
I believe my mom and dad kept
theirs stashed in a musty study’s file cabinet.
There in its envelope,
it might be neatly tucked away
at the rear of a dark drawer, yet
though hundreds of miles away, they’d
remain aware of its heavy presence.
Sitting there,
side by side,
staring away at the
long stretch of asphalt they
still had to traverse,
the darkness of which that
envelope dwelled,
dwelled with them as well.

Mention the word ‘Marriage’ to those of
a poetic mindset
and that extra chromosome
just there on the DNA spiral
is that which makes us
swoon romantic.
Ah yes, marriage.
What a delightful notion.

And then there are those of us
who in our formative childhood psyches
had it constantly reiterated to them that
one cannot have marriage without
How can you possibly conceive of
the ultimate marriage
without the inevitable
culminative progression towards

This was my indoctrination.
Love equals love, but
marriage equals hate.
Am I being brutal?
Have I overstepped my bounds?

Okay then.
So try this.
What is your earliest childhood memory?

Again. This is important.
What is you earliest childhood memory?
Was it sitting on grandpa’s lap?
A fluffy puppy licking your face?
Making ice cream on a hot summer’s day?

Mine is that of my mother
throwing a huge black telephone at my father
and it ringing aloud as it
flew past my head on its way to the far wall.

Marriage equals violence.
Marriage equals
perpetual arguments.
Arguments that would inevitably end with
my mother grabbing her car keys
and slamming every door on her way to the driveway.
There outside,
I’d hear the final slam,
the rev of an engine and screech of tires.
Marriage license.
Driver’s License.
License to leave.
Yes, she was driven.
Driven mad.

And then…
And then silence.
Then you
sitting on your hands,
on a very large couch,
in a very large,
very quiet house.

Marriage equals quitting.
Equals giving up.
Equals walking away.
Marriage equals
You know, like this small boy,
left on a couch,
there coming to realize far too early that
the one great lesson you can
learn from all this is that
no one will always be there for you;
that everything ends before its time.

Such childhood revelations are
not without their consequences.
We are destined to carry them with us.
Indeed, everything does end before its time.
Like your experience of some poet
standing there before you.
A poet you hope will convey some
final climatic epiphany of how
love surmounts all
and instead,
he simply...

©06 Jack Hubbell