Ouroboros

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

Soil

And oil

And meat

Becoming that

Treading

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

Delaware

Like a woman

Sometimes fickle

Always changing

Both delicate and strong

Giving life through the decades

Warm in summer

Bugs fish wood green and lush

Cold in winter

Ice snow wind and shimmering shine

Always alive

Always reborn

My heart will always long for you

Seeking to be reborn

In places of no comfort

Dry foam sterile and plastic

Thinking back to the sand silt and dirt

Muck and wet rotting leaves and horseflies

Smell of shad on your shores

Desperate to spawn

And their stink

Filling the air, life and death inhaled

In one breathe

Sight of eels in the water looking like

Slippery sliding sly snakes of the depths

You have had names before that which

We call you

You shall have more names still

The name we hold in our hearts for you

Will always be the same

No words are needed for it

For just as we need not articulate that

Which our hearts know our mothers to be

Always what you are

Life giver life taker

Warmest and most welcoming

Coldest and most foreboding

Never ever changing

Yet current always raging

Mother River

Gene G. McLaughlin 2015

Ecosystem v2

Bryson Creek

There are dragonflies

In my earliest memories

There are no clever thoughts

No grand ambitions

Only their loud hum

In the heat of summer

The taste of sweat

Upon my tongue

The feel of damp

On my neck

The river is near

Giving and taking

Sleeping then waking

Frothy then serene

The mountain is near

Giving not taking

Bending and breaking

Its peak still unseen

There is my mother

Provider of food and love

There is my father

Before me and not above

We are of here

This valley

This land

We are from here

Our family

Our band

All I know

Is nearby

Or at least as

The bird flies

The river knew my name

When I was baptized in it

The mountain knew my name

When I walked upon it

I became of here

In my crib

As the wind blew

Through it

I cannot forget

The hum

Of horseflies

Nor the pain

Of their bite

Nor the pull

Of the river’s current

It’s inhuman might

It all escalates outward

It all internalizes inward

The river takes me elsewhere

The mountain fades from view

When I am motionless

I can hear the dragonflies

Humming there still

When I am motionless

The river carries me there

Once again

The mountain’s peak

Still out of view

Gene G. McLaughlin 2014

Ecosystem

There are dragonflies

In my earliest memories

There are no clever thoughts

There are no grand ambitions

Only their loud hum

Only the heat of summer

Only the taste of sweat

Only the feel of damp

The river is near

Giving and taking

Sleeping then waking

Frothy then serene

The mountain is near

Giving not taking

Bending and breaking

Its peak still unseen

There is my mother

Provider of food and love

There is my father

Before me and not above

We are of here

This valley

This land

We are from here

Our family

Our band

All I know

Is nearby

Or at least as

The bird flies

The river knew my name

When I was baptized in it

The mountain knew my name

When I pissed upon it

I became of here

In my crib

As the wind blew

Through it

I cannot forget

The hum

Of horseflies

Nor the pain

Of their bite

Nor the pull

Of the river’s current

It’s inhuman might

It all escalates outward

It all internalizes inward

The river takes me elsewhere

The mountain fades from view

When I am motionless

I can hear the dragonflies

Humming there still

When I am motionless

The river carries me there

Once again

The mountain’s peak

Still out of view

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013

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

Together

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