Michael Caylo-Baradi

Civilization and Its Discontents

In a store, I walk into the names of brands,
waiting for attention like bodies
on street-corners at night, proud to
brand life with excitements
and encroaching addictions.
In a store, I walk into the names of brands,
& see them surround a face in my mind,
framed in sounds of something brewing, to caffeinate me
with smiles, & latitudes of care, born to humble
the manipulator in me of codes
in jurisprudence.
In a store, I walk into the names of brands,
still fixing me like it used to be, where I’d push a cart,
& wait for your certainties to pick this & that,
once the heart of order in my world, still mottled
with private afflictions howling for midnights
in alleys, for deliberations in
the court of instincts blind as
justice herself.



Hold your face a certain way,
and it might take you back
to a point in childhood: the taste
of candies from father, then
sermons from mother on
cavities and tooth decay. The moment
distills into sensations of
beginnings walking with you
back home after a funeral,
a kind of lullaby for
recent orphans to remind
you of the inevitable
hovering around us, ever since
our parents cradled us with
generous latitudes of care,
a lifetime before we cradle our
memories of them beyond
the color of wreaths.