Steve De France is a widely published poet, playwright and essayist both in America and in Great Britain. His work has appeared in literary publications in America, England, Canada, France, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, India, Australia, and New Zealand. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in Poetry in both 2002 and 2003. Recent publications include The Wallace Stevens Journal, The Mid-American Poetry Review, Ambit, Atlantic, Clean Sheets, Poetrybay, Yellow Mama and The Sun. In England he won a Reader's Award in Orbis Magazine for his poem "Hawks." In the United States he won the Josh Samuels' Annual Poetry Competition (2003) for his poem: "The Man Who Loved Mermaids." His play THE KILLER had its world premier at the GARAGE THEATRE in Long Beach, California (Sept-October 2006). He has received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Chapman University for his writing. Most recently his poem "Gregor's Wings" has been nominated for The Best of The Net by Poetic Diversity.
ALL THINGS CONSIDERED
I don’t know if you’ve noticed
but THINGS—themselves—have gotten A LOT MORE SENSITIVE.
I am not sure if they are new age things, or if they are things suffering some kind of linguistic virus, or something caused by the warming of the globe, or maybe its nuclear proliferation—but whatever it is—things are developing a bad attitude.
Think on it—people used to and still do talk about things in a very
negative and insensitive manner—for instance,
How are things? people used to say…Oh…Things have gone to hell—was a common
Answer…or things aren’t so good—or things are pretty bad.
Or things never change—it’s the same old shit day after day,
or how’s things hanging?
Now—after years of neglect and syntactical abuse things started
having meetings, support groups, and forming unions for things.
I see some of you are smiling—now you may choose to pass this off as
simply the misuse of a colloquial word or at worst as a sign of the deterioration of language in Western culture and conclude that I am hysterical due to wide spread unemployment amongst lexicographers--
But I am telling you THINGS HAVE JUST ABOUT HAD IT!
Let me tell you about what happened yesterday, as is usual, and stick with me here,
Mr. O’ Reilly was brow-beating his wife about the same old thing for dinner
& Mrs. O’ Reilly—as usual—complained about the same old thing in the bedroom,
telling Mr. O’ Reilly that the thing in his pants was an under achiever.
“Well, things had better change!” screamed one of them. They both clicked off their night-lights and fell fast asleep.
At the stroke of midnight on Easy Street where Mr. O‘Reilly had spent many a happy year in his hammock and where Mrs. O’Reilly had served lemonade with a smile, the whole mystery of THINGS manifested itself. First, the silverware clinked and
slid out of the kitchen window, the blender & toaster held hands and jumped into the rose garden, the couch & easy chair dropped their doilies and ran down Easy Street.
Well…that did it: the floodgates burst, so to speak, for all things that hung,
or things squirreled away in shelves & drawers, gathered together & fled out the back door. The quarrelsome neighbors pretending not to notice the mass exit and attributed this vision to their overuse of cheap gin and the lateness of the hour.
In the morning when the O‘Reilly’s woke—each turned to the other and asked, How are
things?—they looked askance at their barren house—and in that moment of epiphany knew for certain things would never be the same again.
BREAKING BONDS WITH BUDDHA
Sitting in the garden
with three Buddha’s
the most corpulent--
with his stomach
arms raised overhead,
in the posture of a fat man
telling a funny story,
or a twirling gypsy dancer--
within a quiet place—I count backward
from a thousand—focus my breath
Waiting for my mind to slip
my mind lapses—I lose count,
all I can see is the seemingly
toothless grin of the Buddha.
I start counting again.
It must be my thick occidental
Skull—spirituality just won’t
Penetrate—only the patter of little
legs penetrate as myriad
bugs & crawling critters
scurry up my pant leg.
booms my spiritual teacher & lover,
“There’s a big sale at COSTCO.”
I check my wallet—wondering
how much longer I can afford to be
spiritually at one with the Buddha?
My car horn frantically sounds
& I step lively,
breaking all my bonds with the Buddha.
GET WITH CHILD A MANDRAKE ROOT
There are places worse than hell.
Heaven's gonna be one of them.
How much fun will it be to sit on
a cloud with Jimmy Swaggart?
Share harp time with Tammy Fay Baker?
Polish Pearly Gates
about original sin
with Oral Roberts?
In fact, if you spin your TV channel
selector any Sunday,
you'll come up with a whole
lot of folks you wouldn't
feel comfortable sharing a
prison cell with in county jail.
Never mind, eternity.
assholes of every denomination will
litter the streets of heaven.
And these are just
the people of the cloth.
I prefer hell right here
in Los Angeles.
My dictionary tells me
is a perceived contradiction.
But I say hypocrisy
is practiced as a RELIGION.
of this sect
enunciate the holy shearing
of the sacrificial citizen sheep.
Read: you and me.
I wonder how long
the war of the hypocrites
will be allowed to last?
How many more casualties
of truth will it take
before small angry bands
of men and woman,
throw down picks
and shovels? And with fire
boiling from supernatural lips,
& truth like a radiant light
from their bodies,
move door to door
liars & presidents,
hypocrites & lawyers,
mayors & monsters
and without delays
or prosecutorial subterfuge,
disorder of law, or sham of courts,
or any other form of institutional
hypocrisy or postponement: instantly
string them up,
& all together
How long will this take, O God?
How long must we wait?
Oh, till turkeys have teeth,
pigs rain from the sky,
turtles tap dance,
Mad Hatters & Door Mice agree,
I get with child a Mandrake root.