Stephen Mead is an Outsider multi-media artist and writer. Since the 1990s he’s been grateful to many editors for publishing his work in print zines and eventually online. He is also grateful to have managed to keep various day jobs for the Health Insurance. Currently he is resident artist/curator for The Chroma Museum, artistic renderings of LGBTQI historical figures, organizations and allies predominantly before Stonewall, The Chroma Museum
The Fable of the Stoic
There are times when any possible move is loaded with foreboding,
when clarity is a mid-air twirling coin,
when the center of the spirit is a vortex looking through every gesture
and denying kindness so as not to be used.
How wary are the cool, walking wounds risking trust, open-heartedness,
while simultaneously erecting asbestos walls.
No one can truly touch, no one again manipulate
without suddenly hitting stone.
But show a film of children heaving heaps of corpses into trucks while guards
cock rifles, and tears rage, strike chords of nerves to their core.
These are fists shattering panes, strumming agony, making it palpable
although felt right along and escaping by staying mute.
In adventure tales the heroes often journey without apparently having to worry
about who'll feed the cat or take care of an elder. No arrangements are engaged.
Blithe, rootless souls, they simply take off.
Those who don't go know different, are just as real, pack worries, are rational
beings doing their best not to be found with heads in ditches, (glug, glug),
or winding up demented.
Many go that way, common kin or strangers so remote that yet feel, feel, feel.
People drive each other crazy. That is a fact, both the well-meaning
and intentionally murderous.
See it, be there, of use,
keeping mouths shut as
meanwhile self sends to self
Not Saying Goodbye
The chance, the never getting & otherwise:
would it be better?
You who were here, I do not ask this of.
You, crapshoot philosopher, questions
the energy source burning billions
of calories, & how you refused to work out,
build up, said: so be it,
let string bean strength be
& be a test to any, to all…
From the bridge & being run off;
from the dorm that was torched;
from the elevator; the bush, the streets
& being jumped with speculators,
with officers, with reports
mustering subliminal blame
& rarely enough outrage…
You who life stumbled upon, who stumbled
into it with pacifist arms
suddenly having to fight
& often only by being vigilant…
Go ahead. Let them down now.
Relinquish the crest
all good warriors pass.
You never liked it much anyway,
found little comfort there,
believing what would destroy the Earth
would not be the Earth, but the reasons
& you were right, as always-----
You who never said goodbye,
said, a whisper touching this face
after a number of weathered desert years:
Listen, there may come a time,
time, love see,
the time here.
Dog tag in the ocean.
Dog tag in the sand.
Camouflage, navy suits,
boots, suede shoes & shark skin
Dog tag in the heavens.
Dog tag in the rice fields.
Maybe he wanted to tell us-----
Maybe his wanting was silenced.
Johnny couldn't read.
Johnny couldn't help it.
Johnny got that gun &…
Dog tags through our fingers.
Dog tags against our chests.
Who will remember us Johnny,
singing our songs,
singing to these graves?
I wonder where the water went,
what bridge, aqueduct, took
the somnolent luminosity
which could suddenly churn----
Dry now, drought stricken, the cry
of tabula rasa echoes fluid while I gather bones,
crutches, to prop up the dust which once was
and is still
a sort of story.