The Vortex (and other symptoms)
ANTHONY REALE

II. we began

We began as we didn’t
know much about much
or anything on how to clutch
our time closer, errant waste
be damned and damned!

Death begets nature and nature
begets them back, the cycle
eating her tail. The stature
of man dwindles quickly, fungus
growing from crevices outwards.

And we learned and learned—
never checking for what burned
and what spurned, and what
we thought we would earn
through sheer will, or sheer ego.

Do you think we have enough? Are
our chosen sons’ pockets reinforced
again and again and again
to keep Midas’ wretched love from those
down here, never higher than here, on the terrain?

No,
there’s something just ahead.
It’s just close enough—
If I reach out and grab it,
I know something else will become
clear.

Abstract Fungus

III. it follows

The flames light, showing what was:
verdant how to resemble autumn’s burned hues,
pine needles learn a drier music, crackling
hotly with unfortunate inferno’s stern cues.

We are the inferno too.
We pass flame branch to branch
without ever knowing the sparks’ danger
without knowing how the wound to staunch.

And we worship our deviled sun,
orange in ways that forgets plasma,
and rhymes with the verdant’s holocaust.
Scour the air! Quick as you can!

The ash,
unwelcome guest in the lungs and homes,
knows when you aren’t ready. Lower
your blinds, shade your eyes, change
the filters. You hunker,
down and grab on and hold and
your blistered fingers begin wondering
when the siege’s flames sputter away,
the void awaiting.

Nature’s kind cycles do alleviate
the taxation, whose bonds run deeper
than human time allows or comprehends.
When She herself lights the morbid
match, myriad minions mind the chaff,
the fickle flames’ effigies resounding:
newness must prevail! The old cells
out with august sunshine and the
new cells replacing, withstanding us
and our next seasons’ trials. Maybe
we are the chaff too.

You see how beautiful the self-destruction
is, when the wisps and whispers
collide to create the sprouts of a silent
new solace? This has been the inoculation,
the antibody antithesis of antagonistic excess!
We watched, open-mouthed, as we copied down
their process into our modernity—medicine
withstanding tremors, tests
that shake cracks back into the foundation that
nearly finished mending.

Smouldering Ash

IV. savior savior savior

the complex draws nearer,
our ragged minds no clearer
than their suffering-stained mirror.
we cannot see a way out
but we are known to doubt
when storm’s clouds tout
what seems to be the final rout.
cynic cynic, open your eyes,
don’t give up when the door sighs
shut. it’s just the wind from sourer skies,
not the end of our times, our lives.
you are not waiting for your savior.
you are your savior, regardless of the day or
the time or the world or what anyone says.
before grief’s victory, imagine what stays.
you were the savior all along, we follow your pace.

Stormy Clouds

V. we look and

And we look, acidic tears digging the grooves of permanent despair onto our weather-worn faces
and we see a new world, our world, full of the joy we thought we would receive from the world.
Now we shall give give give until we’ve gone gone disappeared.
We serve our generations now.
We are their watershed and we are the cracked pillars that somehow stay strong and upright
in the face of our horrors.
The eye of the storm awaits us and awaits and we
charge forth, knowing the rage we birthed from ourselves.
The storm will pass because we knew it would,
and we shall sit in safe sunlight’s field, clutching hands
to feel that our humans are here.
We look, and we see safety.
We look and we don’t see the way forward.
We look and there is utopia, past the trees’ lightning fingers.
We look and—

Calm Sea Horizon


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