The Wounded Beast of Autonomy

The Wounded Beast of Autonomy*

Hurled against the rocks of identity
The wounded beast of autonomy
Cries out
As it loses its grip

The reassuring shoreline
Battered and eroding
Never looked more forlorn,
A beacon of receding vistas

Blinding and lucid flashes
Assailed by surface gashes
Infused with the
Heat of uncertainty

A frightened little girl
Peaks from behind the mask
Of the wizened crone
And it is my task to convince her
She is not alone

—Robert Hieger
 October 23, 2013


* This poem is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, colleague and extended family member, Sallie Marx, who endured a long struggle with dementia. At the time of writing, I had just visited her in the hospital after she suffered a series of mini-strokes. Several days later, after a massive stroke, she entered hospice care, passing away in early November.

Dongles, Dangles and Beeps

Dongles, Dangles and Beeps*

Tantalus stretches his arm from antiquity Dangles a dongle of USB secrets Mangles a moment of tête-à-tête Instead we have SMS, latter-day S & M. Young couples avert eyes from each other, gaze lovingly At iOS vistas whose screens they now diddle Coo and giggle over vapid missives transmitted cross-table Is this romance conceived by a cyborg Clark Gable? “I am not a Luddite!” cries the man behind the curtain Accompanied by a whir of clicks, flashes and beeps “I'm an artist, a lover and scientist dazu!” Yet hidden from all in a sea of bleeps. Vapid sighs issue as each message is read. If medium is message, this message is dead. With a beep and a whoosh, response message is sent, in fourth wall of persona there is scarcely a dent. Our devices our vices that ice and divide us Yet the scientist, artist and lover dazu Need not hide behind curtains as he's wont to do His vices, devices and crisis not worth the fuss. Liberate the device from the inspired creator, Wayward dongle from the port that it dangles! And will we find that device is a tool that extends us, Not rule of law from a fool whose bluster suspends us? —Robert Hieger  January 14, 2015

* Originally published in Maintenant: A Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing & Art, Issue 9, Editors Peter Carlaftes & Kat Georges, 2015

Bowery Night

Sirens blare,
Horns honk,
Drunkards shout,
Lights glare.

From a club entranceway issues a strong female voice
Shouting to guests: “Moth balls only, moth balls only!”

Heat sears,
Haze obscures,
Darkness descends,
Sleep eludes.

Dollar bills in skirts and suits march down
The proverbial avenue of poverty,
The age-old din of Bowery reduced to moth balls,
Mildewed flesh, stupefied hunger.

Oblivious to the stench,
Human currency competes for entrance,
Entranced by the sameness, the staid suspense of reality,
The sweet oblivion of moth ball-induced hypoxia.

“What a beautiful night!” coos an oblivous bling-ridden $100 bill,
Languishing in the 75-degree dead of night.
“It's December!” wheezes the mildewed flesh over whom she steps.
“It's December! Doesn't that mean anything to you?”

—Robert Hieger
 December 31, 2015

Eye Nay Nay

Nay nay nay can it be?
Wie? Wo? Wann? Warum?
The eye's broom sweeps the continuum of time
Like a giant Jacquard loom,
Shreds linen of false idols sans reason or rhyme.

Eric Blair saw the gory of the drumming of the gourd,
Prevaricators' corporate march of gullible dogs
Bound for dogma handed down from the Sovereign.
The beat of the drum, nay, nay,
The dawn of a new day, gray, gray.

Podiums besotted with glazed over visage of the drunk,
The deluded, terminally entitled class of buffoons,
Self-satisfied, vacant Mussolini gaze, daydream of doubloons.
Haughty whoppers, “men” of the people?
So what if a person is no longer a person?

The better good is served.
Festering, bleeding shards of unperson flesh, the plinth
For the benevolent dissembler of corporate monolith—
“We respond to needs.”
No, Madmen of Madison; you create needs.

Social Media feeds pollute the bandwidth,
Collude in the collective unconscious.
Hamstrung we are, stupefied, petrified
By visions of days yet to come,
Of wasted dreams yet to thrum.

There is a little list,
And we never would be missed.
We might well unexist.
Are you pissed?
Then resist.

—Robert Hieger
 December 18, 2016

Mutual Aid

Malevolent cynics scorch the pages of history with caustic bile. Ulterior motives translucent as the narcissist deprived of center stage. Trapped in the half-truths of dreams deferred and advantage hoarded, Undulating currents of common tributaries symbiotically stream. All the lives and lies wasted in the toil of contests futile and jaded List in the inevitable eddies of reciprocal desires nurtured and awaited. Ardent devotion to ties between the one and the other manifest. Imagination cures the rift, seals the bond, sets passions aflame, Delivers beneficent promise flowing in the wake of contest averted.

Robert Hieger August 28, 2017