Mind the Gap

Poetry generated from a particularly poignant moment while wandering through Colombia. 

Photo: Alejandro Nunez

Travels to Colombia this June brought many incredible memories. It also exposed some harsh realities of a widening cleavage between the rich and poor. On a balmy afternoon in Bogota, I was sitting in a busy plaza when a homeless boy, 10 years at most, collapsed face-down in front of me, quite possibly dead, a shadowed casualty of huffing glue, aloneness and a system putting profit well before people. I’ve been witness to such tragedy before, both at home and abroad, but this scene rattled me to the core. A few words surfaced shortly afterwards.

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Mind the gap, would you?
That bleeding, gaping
Socioeconomic wound
Screeching white noise.

Overdosing adolescent,
Bit and bat, split and splat
Sipping, gripping, tripping
Into diaphanous dentures
Of broken class-glass.

Pillow fluffed, overstuffed
With bills, pills and oil spills
Suffocating the Forgotten,
Silhouetted surrender.

Great Chasm, indeed.
Only those with enough rope
May afford to breathe.
High up in Emerald Caves
Crumbling.

Squeaky camera
Scans subtle movements,
Permapupils anxious,
Eye shadow of rust.
WD-40. Apply like napalm.

King of the Hill swirling,
Mustache twirling.
Distended tummy curling.
Watches atop empty piles
Of dirty riches and on-sale bitches.

Whose teeth to kick in
For traction?

Middle-Class Clown
Spoon-fed hopes and dreams.
Costumes cost lives.
Coagulated make-up
Hiding tears, entombing fears.
Unimpressed mirror.

Wastebasket Legacy.
Plastic-pilled drunk-tank,
Petro pollutant Periwinkle.
Attention! Attention!
The Department of Dignity
Is downsizing.

Ropes tied to limbs,
Horses wild and cantering,
Allies of riotous Wind.
Warm animal blood
Rubbing and surfacing,
Braided now into tethered lashings.

Rise. Rise. Rise.
Social climate change
On the rise.
Sweeping with it
The inequality,
The syringe,
The raped shadow.

So grab your biggest stick.
Wrap open-pit gold chains
Around knuckles
Scaly, white, quivering.
Death Round.
Go.

This is War.
War of the Illusion-Chasers.
War of Immortality.
A race to the bottom
Surely no one to win.
But everything to lose.

Rope is nearly gone.
Just enough for a noose.

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Published: “The Western States 100-Mile Healing Ceremony”

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On June 29th, I reported for both Ultraspire and iRunfar on the world’s oldest and most prestigious 100-mile foot race in the world, the Western States 100. Was a most incredible experience. Here’s my full article, “The Western States 100-Mile Healing Ceremony,” recently published on iRunFar. An excerpt:

“The art of long-distance foot travel encourages this kinship with the natural world while inviting us to venture into our own inner wilderness of possibility that, by conventional standards, discourages such drifting. When we forge this relationship, we are able to understand what some have termed the “ecological unconscious,” or shared emotional reciprocity with environmental conditions. When the world is under siege, we too are being attacked, and so we experience grief, anxiety, and pain. Conversely, when we enter healthy ecosystems exploding with vitality, we heal. The strength and diversity resonates within ourselves. So, for every training run, for every exploration into mountain hinterland, for every running log scribbled with hours and miles, it is critical to remember that we are simultaneously tracking the healing process of both ourselves and of the world.”

Read the full article.