30 July 2014

Alien Nation

I’m feeling very still.                            

~from  David Bowie’s  "Space Oddity"

Can you hear me, Ender? This is your Uncle Tommy,
from a different generation of pinball—
I just hunted commies and child molesters—but
you!  You saved our entire planet from destruction.
I’m giving you my wizard gear.  No really, I
can’t see it, never could, you know. They can’t heal me,
never could.  And so, in a way I know what you
are going through killing an entire species
without even knowing it was in front of you.
We push buttons faster than our invisible
targets, collect pay and return to the barracks
day after day.  And there is a thrill, don’t deny
it and it won’t deny you.  Ender? Do you hear?

Do you see, Uncle Tommy, how it now needs me?
One lives, and if I can help her survive my guilt
and my boss’s hubris, I will be the speaker
for her dead, I will serve her the rest of my days.
No video or games, only self-reliance
and alliance.  We’re not gonna take it, break it
those were your words once upon a time, but I won’t
take this endless war machine, the rape of childhood
and faith.  See me?  Feel me?  Touch me?  Heal me?  No way.
Never again, Uncle Tommy, no amount of
wealth would be enough reward for ripping out my
soul and abandoning my heart.  Forgive me, I
thought it was merely play.  Now get out of my way.

at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads with 
apologies to The Who and to Orson Scott Card.

Copyright © 2014  S.L.Chast


At four, I opposed fried eggs and cold tomatoes
uselessly—it takes more than one child to frustrate
a persistent parent. Then, when the school budget 
failed and book use cost bucks, Dad refused to pay, but
I was the only one hurt by his defiance.

I grew up knowing people boycott when compelled
to resist, when done talking; group action is more
effective than individual acts; powerless
people sacrifice most in the process;
and Montgomery’s bus boycott was successful!

We had fewer news sources in the fifties, or
I was protected in my white town from
learning about Rosa Parks and Montgomery’s
challenge to institutionalized racism
until two or three years later, but I was thrilled.

My home showed little evidence of such freedom.
The fact of it made me want to be an adult
who voted and created change and held power
in my public hands.  I was ready to boycott
grapes and to march against the war in Vietnam.

Boycott, sitting down and marching work better than
bullets do, though they take more time and patience
too.  Yet boycotting pleases the little girl in me
who was so young when she first began to see change
is possible with refusal to pay and play.

Written for my prompt 
Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Boycott

Copyright © 2014  S.L.Chast

29 July 2014


thinking of poetry club in its honest laughter
being told that I could not rap that I couldn't keep a beat and
how painful when topics just don’t belong in the song
I smile just thinking of the days we laughed at my otherness
in the safety of a room in an unsafe school in a crazy world
where children paid the price over and over for no reason at all
because I have a dream I use for a prayer
that religions fade and the holy wipes memories 'til people in a daze
shake hands and hug neighbors to their hearts and take down walls
before any other work at all comes to mind and never mind because
this day is a spiritual celebration of the revelation that all men are brothers
and sisters too with nothing to prove and everything to gain by playing
game, insane, really shooting up the brain
with love and restitution, no retribution and no Americanization despite
the rising sensation of enough food and shelter for all, no helter skelter,
no more early death because we tossed the economic underpinnings 
of disaster that hid behind religion when poverty was the real killer and truth
could kill poverty any time the walls fell and the bell rang the knell
on CEOs bringing in the bacon cut from the hides of children and now
at national boundaries people hang out welcome signs
and dismantle military lines, bullets, shrapnel and land mines before
inviting mother nature to produce chem free food that first does no harm
and second makes us full of stories to give each other before sleeping safely
at last, the only blast, a late party with music and dance celebrating peace 
and while we sleep the green grows tall, trees take over roads and slow down all
whispering new charms at last: no speed, no rush, no scarcity, let’s move right on.

Written for Anthony's Poetics on DMT

at dVerse Poets Pub

Copyright © 2014  S.L.Chast

After Imagination, Truth

Imagine there are no countries (it isn't hard to do)
Nothing to kill or die for and no religion too
Imagine all the people, living life in peace.
~from John Lennon’s “Imagine”

My buddy Jesus, human and divine,
answers my questions with calm persistence
from close enough to touch, hear, and follow
literally and in my growing love—
faith and heart full—I meet him daily.

Around the world, we meet him one-on-one
simultaneously, a paradox not
insane but inspired: Faith surprises me
in its urgency to see new light in
parables and spread it through poetry.

My name means lily and that’s what I see
cut and alive in the vase centered on
my table—peace and tiger, water and
day—one or more each attentive minute
“I am that I am” visits me this way.

Pushed to the edge of our times, I hear us
cry I am only what I am toward
the sky until I realize we know
instinctively and wisely that we, like
Jesus, represent God in our lifetimes.

We may be more, but this at least we know
authentically within creation
when we reach toward each other with sword
or olive branch, when we conspire with earth
to survive, when we connect with nature.

Copyright © 2014  S.L.Chast

Home Again

Welcome blessed rest of home after depth
and intensity of spiritual gathering—
two backstages that balance and support
our performance in all definitions—
industrial and productivity
scales and the immeasurable drama
that is living in view of neighbors and
co-munities with no self-consciousness.

Consciousness and its traps!  Look to flora:
Do diverse species judge each other as
classes of humans do?  Does dandelion
encroach on daffodil or slight wild garlic?
Home, we reflect on breaking visible
conventions of invisible judgments as
spirited community desires—home,
we practice new eyesight and creation.  

Retreats are welcome but temporary
places of recharging for performance
large or small and near or far from resting
backstage, our home time is short-lived, too, when 
spirit leads us out to gatherings and 
gardening, to tending and attending 
lessons and witnessing injustices
serving greater purpose than history.

Copyright © 2014  S.L.Chast

25 July 2014

The Door to Love

Playful Hermit Crabs

Daily worship is endless sound: crunching
footsteps, cicadas, air conditioners
murmurs in walls or my heart beats stored for
playback in my throat, wrists, mind and seashells

Daily worship opens doors to love’s knock
and even hermit crabs like me answer
if only to see what love looks like from
a second-hand home, a used perspective

In my peripheral vision, love is
color, surprise bouquets of it in sun
shine, scents of it rising in moonless nights,
surrounds of it touching like ice cream and tongues

At my door, love invites me to come out,
visit creativity and rejoin
creation. Love plants in me a desire
to end my isolation from the source.

Love asks Why borrow a home when you could
come home? Why listen to an echo of your own
voice and beat when wholeness is possible?
Why worship alone in a hard-walled shell?

Routine daily worship leads to surprise
but can't make me recognize it as Grace,
the touch, taste, sight, sound,  and smell I've wanted
wanting me, love knocking at my own door. 

Posted at Open Link Monday where Kerry welcomes us to the Imaginary Garden.

Copyright © 2014  S.L.Chast