People are Okay

it's more glamorous
   to say 
         people aren't okay
   since reactions 
         to the extremes
            are such easy
                    cheap heat
            extremes of black or white
            too sweet
            too sour
                         leave terrible tastes
                            memorable tastes
                               of what not to eat
            too bright
            too dark
                   to see
                         causing blindness
                             or terror
                                imprinting in us
                                     where not to go
                                 or what not to look at
it's probably easier to write about
            than what we all see
                     and taste
                 out in the sunlight
     because extracting the ways in which
we are okay
     stinks of the bland
                and banal
                and passé 
                and bourgeois
                or a bunch of other shit
                used to describe shit 
and picking out details
     of the okays 
           extracted from the grey
seems like an exercise in nothing

so I don't know
     they say there should be truth in art
so I guess the question is
     self truth?
     universal truth?
     truth in the moment
                or times
                     of reading bad news
                           or just feeling down?

but the world shows me
    people are okay
  we sin
      which is the glamour
           but our atonements
               too minor
                   to be the things of poetry 

maybe we're okay
     to which
          a contrary friend says
                people are terrible
         just look at the history
                of the 20th century
                and all those who've been
to which i think
          in addition to
                all those we could slaughter
                     but don't
                those we've not enacted vengeance
                no matter how justified
                         and easy it would be
                to wipe them out
not only that
      but the aid we give
            while we 
                 in turn 

so I say
      on the whole
            maybe we're okay

and even
     just you and me
            we are mostly okay

one wife fucks the IT guy 
     behind her husband's back 
another wife fucks her husband when she doesn't want to
     because it's part of the job
                   of maintaining family
                           and home

an old man is left to rot and die alone in some shitty 
while a maimed cat or child gets rushed to the hospital
         by a stranger
              seeing it struck by a car

an invalid in a nursing home
                is beaten and abused
while another patient
         in another home
         receives gifts and visits
    from someone she barely knows
         and though more a burden 
             than of use
                     to anyone
               she's left to live
                    and treated humanely
                       and with dignity
                           until her dying day

we gossip like schoolchildren
    while tomorrow
        handing out treats at Halloween
                   reenacting the tradition
           for no more than the pleasure
                   of the costumed kids
                       that we once were

and we delight in the tragedies of others
     far less than the poor cynic
              and solipsist
                 and misanthrope
          needs to believe
                 smelling of ass
                      and junk food
                          cynical of the holidays
                      meant to honor
                          those with far more courage 
                               than him
                          cynical of the parades
                                and banners 
                                     and slogans
                                partly justified
                                     but reasoned 
                                         as wholly
                          as he lies in bed
                                      reeking of ass

we emotionally fuck you!!! somebody in traffic who cuts
    us off
while next week 
     donating a coat 
           to the coat drive
                for someone we'll never meet
                     partly because
                        we can
                           since we're more
                                than the broke cynic
                                      smelling of ass
only at Christmas
    the cynic might say
why not all the time?

maybe because
     we're only okay
       like your dog and mine
          that mostly shits and eats and sleeps
               lazy by some standards
                     but loyal and loved
              and unlike Lassie
                        saving a child in a well
                 or Cujo
                        that terrorized and viciously 
    ours is neither hero
          nor villain
    he is mostly
                  in his inglorious 
                                    and eating
                                      and sleeping
sometimes the sacred cow must be sacrificed to get closer to the truth

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