Wednesday, May 11, 2011

As it May Have Been for Ruth and Boaz

I walk past the house garden,
hear the songbird change keys.
Knowing you love me, I chuckle.

In your eyes, mine have time
to lose focus in the lawn's fall and rise
into spring green oak and maple.
Knowing you see me, I see perfectly.

Married today, this now becomes always,
and you and I
closer than the family that gave me,
closer than air against my breath.

And this is how I know forests
don't fight for sun, but delight
in each instant of tree become sapling,
life become life, your God my God.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Folk Songs

Huntington Bay is an incorporated village now,
a conglomerate of ballot-casting investors
who have never seen Camden,
never been to Brooklyn.

Where we eat our organ meats and root vegetables.
Some are family farmers, lone carpenters,
middle managers,
left to figure the lost folk dances.

The mechanic and deckhand are ancestors
we find a way to weave together,
draymen are truckers, the children are athletes,
the president - no one knows what the president is.

Staying with local tunes
when we go to a small potluck dinner,
there's a song we sing when your son or your mom
is in the hospital, a reel for the end of winter.
Few of us know a long waltz called "Moving the School."

We ask the children to learn the twisting leaps
needed for Main Street staying alive.
We look for those who aren't too busy
to sing with us "Keeping in Touch
with Those Who are Out of Town."

We'll show whoever else needs it
how to keep fruit fresh for the picnic,
or an old rendition of "Decent cup o' Joe,"
or how to get to the grocery in the snow.
These are the dances we know.

And at holiday parties
we laugh about the jet packs that we don't have,
and how computers are going to take our jobs
as post-bellum shoemakers or hatters.
We laugh as we sing and steer,
dance and wrench, sew, wash, stow and carry on,
each singing what belongs to everyone else.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

On Grenades of Our Own Design

One: Them

There is no doubt when someone gets it right
in science like Brautigan or poetry like Koestler;

(and you see what I did there:
I swapped them in the manner
of the stand up comic, for effect,
because I've read the esoterica
that says this is how the brain works,
and I believe it).

These molders of outrage claymation knead
little knobs of words into a fast blurring smear,
solving the algebra of panic and repose
and dying by choice before us.

Two: Us

Even for a bedroom community
there were way too many bedrooms.
We had the crappy broom, we had the good broom,
we had a vacuum and a carpet sweeper
but we couldn't keep up with the hair

slowly woven around the edge of the apartment.

The cat was crying,
so we had to do something.
We moved the cat to a cardboard box,
then we moved the cat and the box closer to the door.
And the alarm clock freaked out anyway,
twice, for each of our mornings.

The cat was dying, and we flew apart like lucky birds.

Years later, one red and white rambling ranch
looks like another in St James' streets
and I couldn't get to that place
if you clipped me, caged and carried me.

Three: Me

I am racing to the traffic light
because I'm a list maker,
and that is what's next.
I might turn right at the red light,
it's my right to turn right at the red light.

I am fleeing chimp-like into meetings,
in tight shoes and itchy wool pants,
carrying rule books and building
a pinched consensus among the wood-like
tables and cooperative folding chairs.

I am in a twisted firing squad.
Some of our heads shoot blanks,
blameless as a new phone.
We're a rain of exploded social beasts
falling back on grenades of our own design.