Joe Balaz


Rock bottom
is a smooth black slate—

—take some chalk
and write an explanation on it.

If the words of futility
have run dry

then a simple cave drawing will do—

—you can pretend
you’re an ancient humanoid

surviving a world
where everything was primordial
and not so complex.

Other than being trampled
by a mastodon
or eaten by a pack of wolves

existence wasn’t a situation
that couldn’t be handled.

With the convenience
of the modern age

it’s amazing how darkness
can have so much light to it—
like an illusion.

The old forest
is essentially the same

but beyond it

a high pressured civilization
speeds along

to a relentless neon
and an infinite digital code.

Vertigo in a vortex

whipped and battered
like the inner winds
of an unstoppable tornado

it whirls you around indescribably

and pulverizes you into slate—
smooth and unforgiving.

In the course of it all

thank the pantheon of gods
that never answer a single prayer

for the man-made miracle
of a valium sunrise—

—beneath their indifferent grace

the morning rays
are now streaming
onto the synthetic living room carpet

even though the shutters
are all tightly closed.

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