The Sunday Poem: Aaron Greenwood... for the children

In a land where human life mostly clings to the sides of a river or two, it is not hard to imagine a bleak future in a hotter, drier world.  This poem was probably also written, or sung, in Chaco a thousand years ago.

Aaron is a card carrying member of the bourgeoisie, a bona fide life ember of the counter culture, and a type of old world lizard lying in the sun of a sandy arroyo.  He smoked his first cigarette at 13, quit high school at 17, then went down the rabbit hole and somehow found his way out.  Along the way he became a coauthor on on 25 peer reviewed journal articles in publications such as Nature and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

for the children

the wonders of our times
the wonders of guitar strings
the soft tones of metal and felt
fade from the tomorrows of this moment

suicide scholars say the science is unsettling
that we are the folly of electrons
and have crossed the wrong Rubicon
 crows are waiting to feast

the cross on the wall
taken from the rib of a believer
smells of oil and snakes
a broken Christ with ken doll eyes
 indifferent and watching
our parade of self-loving flesh
our pride in a morality
that is nothing, nothing but
a game of three-card Monte
the girl climbing the tree
jumps into the middle of a sentence
singing an aria
a libretto of sorrows
her fragrance of lilac fades
subdued by a premonition of melancholy
in the streets of America -
maybe after the rain

a young woman with white hair
howls a requiem without redemption
saying the best minds of her generation farm trite
she barfs up their sermons, lectures and political speeches
 mixing their words with her bile
she offers a taste of truth
before riding off on the flame of fury
never looking back -
small eyes wonder why the birds are leaving

violence is now the coin of the realm,
prayer flags are a product of consumption
our lives can no longer
be sanitized by acts of contrition,
indulgences are no longer for sale
there is no hiding in the tree
the leaves have fallen

Hello young children, hello
do you like the life we have created for you
built from small minds
obsessed with making you, molding you
hate concealed by the sweet taste of cookies
hear our fingers snap
come children come
jump children jump
run children run

look out the window children
 see your world, it is burning
burn world burn
that children, is our gift to you

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

Poetry submissions are welcome.  Email

Views: 176

Comment by Margaret Randall on July 29, 2012 at 8:08am

Haunting poem, and that line "a broken Christ with ken doll eyes" will be with me for a long long time. Imagining this poem being written or sung at Chaco a thousand years ago is sobering indeed. I hope our descendants will be writing and singing something a thousand years hence!

Comment by cathyray on July 29, 2012 at 8:31am

Margaret, the ken doll eyes jumped at me too! 

Comment by Izquierdo on July 29, 2012 at 10:51am

The poem is wonderful right down to the repetitive Dick and Jane kintergarten reader finish. Equally intriguing is the Desert Solitaire author intro. A nice combination. Viva Dick, Jane, Spot and Puff! Viva Hayduke! 

Comment by John Roche on July 29, 2012 at 10:10pm

Great poem, Aaron. A terrifying jeremiad. Also love the switch to the language of children's books or fairy tales (cookies image reminded me of Hansel and Gretel). Many powerful earlier lines, like "prayer flags are a product of consumption."

Comment by Dee Cohen on July 30, 2012 at 6:48am

Very powerful. I bet it sounds even stronger out loud. D

Comment by Jules Nyquist on July 30, 2012 at 2:08pm

Amazing and powerful poem that really spoke to me. I love the images, especially the young woman with gray hair...and the Hallelujah's at the end. Great work, Aaron.

Comment by Merimee Moffitt on August 31, 2012 at 9:48pm

I seem to have lost my comment box and profile pic--bitter flavor to your poem, Aaron. 

Comment by Merimee Moffitt on September 2, 2012 at 2:29pm

I must have spoken too briefly, but the self-critque of the content is much as I see the content--I feel that the topic is bitter, not the writer.  I don't agree taht we as a society are morally corrupt, nor are most the the younger genration thta cross my path--I see them indeed as evolving and moving forward.  Our damage to air, water, and environment is indeed more toxic than most know, and the worst perpetrators seem to place greed beyond their sense of concern for all the ills of the world.  Yet, still, I do not know many of these people.  I hope they are few and that the sensible ones who love life on earth can out number and win back some hope for the environment.  Young perople are sooo much smarter than they used to be1??  I do think so.  I do not find your voice bitter, but I do ot think the majority of people are wrong doers either.  I hope your worst fears, and mine, are wrong and we are already entering the Age of Aquarius!  My husband thinks so--and he reads up on the bitterest of goings on.  Happy sunday and labor Day.  I do not find you a bitter person, Aaron.  I spoke too simply--forgive me.

Comment by Merimee Moffitt on September 2, 2012 at 2:42pm

There certainly are sad realities going on--bitter ones to me--bitter pills--but most people are not so bad, especially youth.  The schools do remarkably well considering the stress families are under to just survive--that is too bad, as it could have been different--your poem brings up loss too, our losses as a society--


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