Untitled (Title suggestions welcome)

Poetry by Ted Boughter-Dornfeld Copyright © 2009

War bots modeled after x-box controls,
from the high to the low, maintaining.
Apocalypse Now, Captain please,
a pale face knotted, one last swig of Jim Bean.

Revolution is live, no cutting these scenes,
everybody plays soldier till the bullets
start to scream. And Death hums by, shrieking
ancient lullabies, two blinks of an eye, while
Cerberus snarls, “Don’t you know the smell
of warm gunpowder perfume?” If not, son,
You’ll know it all too soon.”

Hold your breath as it floats up your nose. No slipping here –
By nightfall, this valley’s grove will be flooded with other throes.
Excuse the rows of strangely contorted bodies that lie, resting,
and the bloated brown-streaked limbs, homeless, getting more
lost amidst the bellowing desert sand. Enjoy the silence of
the boom, the momentary reprieve from green noise,
sucking up the sinking cries, an empty vacuum.

Watch for the ambushers, too – waiting by the roadside;
As familiar grins with tattered teeth flicker fake smiles,
and land mines sparkle under feet, fireworks on the fourth of July.


Desiderata by Max Ehrman


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.


Poetry by Ted Boughter-Dornfeld Copyright © 2009

Inspired by Emily Dickinson’s Life.

As the clock strikes
midnight in a perfect world,
they only want to know one thing:

What does your soul look like?

In the beginning, three sat together
in darkness, sweating and chewing miraa,
talking of unlikely things and dreams
while sucking down Tusker.
It was refreshing to be nobody,
soft baiting the line
and wasting time
gambling shilingi.

The sun outside set sooner than expected,
dipping well below the low buildings,
so they ventured out into the cobalt
blue evening, not thinking too much
about who might be listening,
speaking bravely as their words
and jokes slowed down beside
shadows beyond the city lights.

Laughing more, the three hopped on
a matatu at Kimkambala, smelling
the final wisps of dinner in each
passing village, watching as a purse
got pulled just paces from the road,
until they got off by Fort Jesus.

Further and further, they treaded home,
walking alongside the Indian Ocean –
Through the thick, green night, almost
fog-like, tip-toeing by an old man and
his flashlight; he slept soundly on
the steps of that corner storefront.

The three whispered their goodbyes,
and headed separate ways.

The youngest of them slid easily between the
narrow alleyways, and finally through braided
black bars. With the turn of a treasure-chest key,
he was back in the courtyard, walking past the
stripped bones of yesterday’s catch, where he
decided to make his permanent address, today.

He had dwelled where dreams are born,
but only for a day, and searched to find
sunset in the tip of a cup – when the
sunset was enough. He knew
that it was too much as he asked
a stranger to fill him up to the brim,
and told him not to worry, he would
say “when.” He had worked hard to
lay down his guilt on the altar, and not
return to gin, making this decision:

He decided that being
born to homeless winds
doesn’t mean that you
have to be homeless, and
as he climbed the broom-swept
maroon steps, up to the roof, he
breathed deeply. How pleasant
it was to look out onto the sea,
reflecting the pearly moon,
so beautifully.



Indifference Begins

Poetry by Ted Boughter-Dornfeld Copyright © 2009

A distrust of details…
Ample amounts of reporting,
And eroding authority;
More freeze-thaw cycles,
Upswells, dead zones. Early signs
Wash up onto the shore, as the
Earth’s core continues to warm.
Hurricanes play mercilessly with
Uninsured lives, and earthquakes
Evolve from tickles to fissures.
Snow disappears from
Whole mountainsides.
The floodgates HAVE opened, temperatures ARE
Rising; Perception is always partial
but there’s plenty of evidence, regardless –

When we start to question the record-keepers
And legislators, those omitting parts of history;
People who willingly walk into the sun, selfishly
Sidestep the natural order and equilibrium of all things,
Exactly where does that journey end?

I think, somewhere around the place
Where we start to forge our own histories,
Or indifference begins.
The Future Of Global Warming: