Pennsylvania Avenue

If a tree falls in the wood, and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound?
- George Berkeley, c. 1710

PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE

Stand there, young one, with your hands
cupped around your mouth and band
arm in arm with revolutionaries
lined up like clipped-winged canaries.

SHOUT, you yell, SHOUT! SHOUT!
BARK! BARK! BARK! foam all about
your mouth. Are your legs tired
from constantly being mired
in the thick and fetid molasses,
the ignorant and -ist masses?

The winds keep blowing, blowing, blowing,
and you're showing, showing, showing,
your creaks and cracks, and lip smacks,
your teetering, tottering fronts and backs,
your noise and toys and crocodile tears
hidden in the foliage of your fake fears
are going to topple you over, kid.
And in the streets, they'll make their bid
carving you up to shove you in
your coffin stretched out over your skin.

A tree will fall in the wood, and crush
the ant, the boar, the stream and brush.
A tree that stood for countless ages
suffers not from false outrages.
Even in its death, it still provides shade,
though its roots no more drink from the glade.
Inside its soul, bees craft their nectar.
Its shadow becomes a wandering spectre.

Until the day it falls, it lives.
Its relentless spirit gives and gives.
One long tumble, one quick breath,
a murmur in forrested shibboleth.

Graceful, and careful, it lays itself down,
and even though it may make a sound,
the forest knows that true power
is built into the sky a great tower.

Build your tower, deepen your roots,
instead of sharpening your teeth and boots.
And when you fall, make a sound,
and lay yourself out upon the ground.

-JR Simmang

I find I am often perplexed by today's youth. They lack intuition. They lack motivation. And, yet, they are hopeful. I wonder what the future will hold for them, and coincidentally for us. I worry that the battles they face are manufactured, and that they are waging a false war that will have real complications. If we die in our dreams, do we still wake up breathing?

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