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I Go Through Life Verklempt.

(Original Sand Photo by Steve Villano, Sonoma Coast, CA.)

I go through life verklempt;

No feeling is exempt —

I wince, I cry, and my breath dies

At each suicide attempt.

I mourn the deaths of loves, yours and mine;

My thoughts largely unkempt;

With pictures zoetroping through my mind,

I go through life verklempt.

Childrens’ laughs lacerated by bullets or bombs,

Or starved, or drowned or burned;

I blame myself, my clothes I rend,

For all I can’t prevent;

I go through life verklempt.

Hiroshima & Babi Yar, Tulsa & Nanking;

Vaporized or demonized,

Inhumanity. The same thing.

Horrors pent-up, then unvented —

I go through life verklempt.

If I could stop one child from dying,

From illness or abuse;

If I could melt all guns and ammo,

To put to better use.

If I could unlock Ferlinghetti’s

“Dark Bodegas of the Self;”

If we could reach inside your darkness,

Offering a hand, a heart, some help.

If we could cure all hate and harm,

Each day, each act well spent,

Then all the catches in my throat,

Emotions, that they represent —

Have served the purpose of living,

For which compassion is meant.

I go through life, verklempt.

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