The world tries to hollow me out

I respect the world’s prerogative

Its capacity for the positive endless

Its pursuit of the negative flawless

It’s ceaseless attempts to consume

The I, the who, the whom

Tracking ruthlessly on my scent

Form of

Food, taxes, utility bills and rent

On the worst of days

I drift away

Most days I just sway

Starting to protest, to say . . .

but I know the snake knows anyway

The devouring serpent

Is aware of

It’s destiny


And oil

And meat

Becoming that


Beneath our feet

Today though

I am half swallowed

Head turned toward the sun

The snake and I as one

I do not face the snake

Making the bastard wait

Gene G. McLaughlin 2015

The Vulture

The vulture picks away at the bones

In the heat of the sun

Carrion before him

A feast of rare

Portion and quality

Looking about at the plain

Feeling the wind

Gentle and warm from the sky

He thinks of the sky

The warm spots he finds

Floating for hours

Surveying all that is below

Beauty and bounty

Plunging his head into the

Wet decay of carcass he

Hears their sound in the distance

His brother and accomplices

Come to clean the landscape with him

Full, his time is done here and he arises

Taking flight and elevating toward a perch

And grasping a large branch

Sun baking the skin of his head

Drying the juice of the carcass

Surveying what is around him

Heat dust life sun water plants

And bones

He is the creator of bones

Dry white and dusty

Defiler defender devourer

And disinfectant

Watching a small rodent

Thinking of life and death

Not two sides of a coin

Not an equation

But separate

His domain the edge

Death not beauty

Death never beauty

But sustenance

The issue not desire

The issue not direction

The issue acceptance

That no desire

Changes the beauty of life

No direction away from the

Bones that all become

His brothers squawk below feasting

The breeze and sun whispers to them


I will not be bitter when it’s time to go

When my eyes close upon the sky

I will not mourn for what I did not know

When my last moments arrive

What I had

Was enough

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013