VIII – Steel Trees (complete)

I — Michael Raymond

Concrete paths that never

meander

Steel trees offering no

shade

only light to banish

the stars

country boy never quite

familiar

with this city’s hustle

life

endless unknown faces all

timeless

share a single innate

desire:

I’m only trying to get

home.

II — Sufjan Simone

Amid all this blinding light, I grope
for memories of soil before concrete
was laid. These trees, steel trees
burn with a hum, not a crackle.
Grew without growth. Jabbed
to the ground in geometric precision.
Needed neither sun nor rain. Stars,
they are even fainter as I linger,
as I blur among the throngs.

These steel trees paint us
with the faces of ghosts, lost
in all these roads paved,
predictable.

III — Michael Raymond

Ghostly throng that haunts my

solitude

a multitude of seen once

friends

nigh enough to touch though not

welcome

steel trees stabbed harshly into

soil

that cannot recount fall of

gentle rain

whose burnings yield but false

peace

night sings with something not

music

makes me wish for a moment of

silence.

IV — Charles Slavis

Forests clear cut.
Brush chipped and bleached.
Replaced with small huts.
Land chemically leached.

Wildlife destroyed.
Driven away.
No where to deploy.
Extinction in sway.

Deer in the headlights.
Crushed by a truck.
Logs chained tight.
Now covered with guts.

Globalization expands.
Water polluted.
Nature and lands
are haplessly looted.

V — Melissa Bickel

Not long ago I stood

capricious

among Indian blankets,

free.

Now I struggle to catch

my breath

Stifling metal, concrete

belonging

to a vast, dissonant

time

abuse my eyes, impede my

journeys.

Starless expanse of these

night skies

Sirens the solitary

song.

VI — Michael Raymond

Once open fields supplanted
by repetitious structures of
activity. Routine rules
the remnants of their
passing while the “crops”
now growing here settle
for existence.

Silence pierced through
with the shrill song
of emergency response
is beaten into submission
by the sheer numbers of
people congregated in
constricted space.

A bullet shot from a
shadowed heart, ends the
dreams of a man not old
enough to know his place
in the world. A family
must now find the means
to continue.

VII — Michael Raymond

Steel trees planted to cast

harmony

and drive shadows before

light

fail to touch the depths of

a heart

hellbent on destroying

contentment.

Nightmares transforming from

dreams

ending the songs, terminate

laughter;

steel trees with their light and

safety

could not protect this single

youth.

VIII — Sufjan Simone

These trees give
a cold, unflinching white gaze.
Each a measured distance
from the other.
Tracing borders,
concrete boundaries.
Light without illumination.