Controlling Agents


“Controlling Agents” are those things in life, typically abstract concepts, that we give power of authority over ourselves.
This includes societal norms, religion and other ideologies.

We Only Make Bubblegum

This poem speaks to the over-commercialism of everything in our culture, including many of the “controlling agents” that we claim to hold so sacred. In the eyes of this sarcastic piece, everything is cheap and disposable.

but my soul’s in despair
i’ve fallen from grace
or maybe i’m just bleeding
from my grace period
the bills are due it’s that time of the month
to give myself credit for waving a card

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We Net on the Intermet

The rinse and repeat, transient nature of relationships in modern society is explored, with the cellphone held high as the symbol of the loss of actual human contact and connection.

your A.D.D heart is why you love L.A.
the cars and buses that pass like thoughts
on the information highway
like the drugs you take to stay engaged
but that’s so 21st century
and you’ve already made plans for 23
no time for romance
only ever connected to someone by proxy

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Spare the Poets

This poem examines the value society puts on art, compared to other concepts like religion or government. The line is a reference to Homer’s Odyssey: when Odysseus returns from his travels, he kills his wife’s suitors and their priests, but spares the minstrel/poet, and a herald (don’t kill the messenger).

poetry over facts
romance over reason
imagination over duty
passion over contemplation

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Sandbox

The three Western religions fighting in the Middle East are compared to children arguing in a sandbox in this satirical work.

you don’t know the daddy
i hold dear in my chest
you think you’re most favored
but he likes me best
get out of my sandbox
’cause i was here first
you may hear what he says
but i heard him first

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Primal Mask

Death is one of the greatest controlling agents of all. In “Primal Mask,” humanity’s tendency to pollute its environment at its own peril results in scorned Mother Earth welcoming us back — to our graves.

face the primal mask
casts shadows on your peers
like descent of the female vulture
claws rending as she sneers
this labyrinthine transformer asks
why you never pause to solve the puzzle
we’re only praying to the goddess
when we want what she gives us
don’t worry
simple simian
careless ape
plasm sack
mother says in the end
she’ll still take you back

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'Cave' painting

Cave

The City's Totem painting

The City’s Totem

Nuclear Family painting

Nuclear Family

Plateau

The more we try to control technology, the more it seems to be commanding us. “Plateau” ponders this relationship within the metaphor of a sexual power struggle.

technology is the foreplay
in the sublimated sex of progress
the oohs and ahs of consumer feedback
we just keep thrusting forward to hear
satisfied lovers telling us ‘keep going
you are so on the right track’
always building
never to slow
always peaking
never plateau

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A Man Goes In

This poem questions heroes, why we need them in society, and how we forge them. I refer to a known practice of ancient cultures to use a cave as a symbol of rebirth for boys entering manhood.

we need our heroes to be born again
once for the body, once for the mind
once for the new world,
once for what’s left behind

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Clipped

A famous fallen angel speculates on the aspects of god in “Clipped.” The staggered rhythm is meant to relay both the shifting thought process of the speaker, as well as the sense of confusion he has at having been “expelled.”

only been drunk once.
it precipitated this profoundly
sobering effect on me, likewise
sent some dizzy angels spinning

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The City’s Totem

Our environment influences and controls us, even if we perceive we have created that environment. Creation does not mean mastery, as declared in “The City’s Totem.”

its intimately hidden graffiti tattoos
and asphalt cracks like fingerprints
highway synapse and citizen cells
jagged angles and stunted squares
alloy casted clanging stairs and
boulevards bursting at the beams
in unison the congregation chants
under news copter whose rotor propels
the city’s swinging gallows
a prayer of resurrection singing:
who knows how bright
the spirit’s glowing sign
when the city’s totem comes alive

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Our Nuclear Family

“Our Nuclear Family” is not about the average family size, but rather the average size of a country’s defensive arsenal.

even the skyscrapers smile
with city burning under a van gogh sky
before being reduced to ant piles
thank god we’re industrious, thinking blind
deciding with a more scientific mind

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