NOT QUITE HUMAN, NO DOUBT ABOUT IT
Day gaunts haunt the parking lot;
robotripping makes the future look dim.
Annihilating sunshine’s bright enough.
White fire in the eye, blind worms that swim
and sparkle across the eye— a whim
like the dark sunglasses they forgot.
Light gaunts slouch and strut their stuff,
noon gaunts spit their gum on blacktop,
knife gaunts glitter at passing grannies.
They squint and sneer, piss and pop
their zits so pus shoots out at cops.
Day gaunts like their skin worn rough.
Day gaunts grin and knock back brandies
in tiny sample bottles they lifted
stick-fingered and slick from a liquor outlet.
Day gaunts get tired when daylight’s shifted
to moony blue dusk, beautifully rifted
by the Milky Way’s twinkling stars like candy.
Night gaunts creep into dreams gone rancid.
WILL WE DIE AT THE CIRCUS? YOU DO THE MATH!
You see, we live in a crazy clown world.
Shouldn’t have to explain all the cracks and red noses,
the cackling soundtrack, our daily violations,
the ever-looming lack of either bread or roses.
There must be an end to this shit, one supposes,
but the horrors amass and the horrors unfurl
anew each day, absurd and vicious tribulations.
The Gulf Stream falters on her failing tightrope.
Nobody who cares can do anything at all.
The ringmaster has no mercy; the audience, no hope.
We sit and we watch and we jabber like dopes.
Another round of shabby chained beasts’ eviscerations.
Another newspaper headline. A newspaper pall.
A newspaper hat. Meaning breaks like peanut shells
under elephant feet, and you might as well laugh.
We’re in hell, we’re in hell, we’re in hell, we’re in hell.
And you know what that means! Lights up, music swells—
an eternal encore! Devils stacked super tall
on the shoulders of devils. Their will is our law.
Briar Ripley Page lives and writes. They loved their high school English classes despite getting mostly Cs. The first book of poetry they ever read was by Canadian singer-songwriter Jewel. "Hey," thought Briar, "I could totally write a poem at least as good as these."