An Action is Coming

Milk is handed out
To wash pepper spray from eyes.
Drum beats throb
The hand holding crowd.
Young, black, white,
Chanting in the rain.
Smiling themselves out of fear.
Facing down lines of police.
An action is coming,
Perhaps tonight.
Rain bent placards trumpeting
The cause of yet another
Shooting in the street.
Each time more squalid.
Tawdry lies
Sneer in the face of video reality.
Fantasy conspiracies linked
To phony charges pinned on corpses.
Breathless helicopters churn the clouds
Over rainslick streets.
The mainstream media will not have to cut and paste
The riot this time.


Big fat robin on the clinic’s roof,
Spring’s overture on his heart,
Stares at me.
The frozen landscape hardly a factor
In his art/soul.
His fish hook shaped call distracting me
From my blood tests.


Several times
I heard Jagger on tape
In Africa.
Once in particular
In a Bambara compound
Watching the appalled look
On an old Bambara father
As his son listened to our
Version of “tribal” music
In Gimme Shelter,
At the truly unique,
Truly haunting,
Frightening words,
Sounds, howls,
Pre-human, violent,
Yearning, ritualistic,
Power of that song.
Listened to in a
Tribal environment
Terrified by the obviously unsocial
Elements obvious to all
Yet somehow
Compelling to all
Because the old man
Didn’t throw me out
Even though I knew
He wanted to,
After his son had brought me back to the family compound
After a pub crawl.
Perhaps in the long run,
He might look back
On that act of hospitality
As one of
His Great Life Errors
As his son grows older.

Poetry by John H. Sime

John H. Sime studied Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin Madison (BA,MA). Spent two years in the Peace Corps in Mali and forty years in business in Wisconsin. Freelance writer since college in _Kickapoo Free Press, Wisconsin Poets Calendar, Verse Wisconsin, Howling Mantra, Hummingbird, Lake City Lights.