Remember

Re-member, a crude stitching back together
Of something once part of me. I can sew
Any monster you like, shove it shambling
Into view with the thoughts about how the yard
Needs mowing or that spot just now on the floor,
Wood grain or cat barf I’m not sure, and uh oh,
Why now: that old cartoon of myself as a child,
Leaping out of the car in swim trunks, chased
By my parents’ hysteria, but my stupid joy
Hurled me all the way to the creek, I dove in
And my face and the rocks came together, then
I have completely forgotten what happened next,
For reasons known only to a part of myself
I will never be allowed to know, but I am still here,
My face unscarred but wrinkled, yet I don’t remember when
The wrinkles appeared, and that seems important, too,
But then most of my memories feel like the wrong ones:
The good, ghosted in wet sand with a gooey finger,
The bad, chiseled in marble by master craftsmen,
Each remembering more of a reminding 
That a Japanese man, asked how to live a hundred years,
Replied: “Forget everything as soon as it happens.”

After

The patio fire leaps and snaps
The moon slips through pecan trees
Islay whiskey on the table
The whispers of crickets

A few days past the hard tears
I held her tightly
Feeling the sad violence
The gasping the shaking

Now in cooling stillness
Tasting the smoke in our glasses
Together we follow the moon
Until it slides out of sight


Revised

The Small Winter

I refuse to wear a coat in the small winter,
After ice and snow have blasted their last trail
And left behind scarred refugees of field and sky,
An invalid sun still too weak to reach
The last ghettos of cold:
That chill in the garage as the door lifts to daylight,
A walk on a trail that briefly dips through shade
Into lingering air from the past dead months,
Those identical short dark days
When bird calls went off like sniper fire.

But now green constellations burst in the brown,
And the horizon burns longer before night.
The barking dogs sound sharper,
Less like humans wailing in despair.
The skin on my arms still puckers slightly
As I pile blankets back in the closet,
But my screen door opens wide
To a rebel wind inciting the bare trees,
The bright attack of a cardinal,
Red crest raised high above the patio floor.



revised

Help Save Their Country!

They're waiting for the mysterious converted school bus
To deliver them to where flags of no known nations hang 
From peeling eaves, bumper stickers threaten vague retribution
Or pledge allegiance to unknown forces,
Untended bonfires smoke in the deer-killing fields,
Gunshots ring as routinely as church bells,
Help save their country! They're being eaten alive
By swarms of feral hogs, Chinese cabals,
No work at the prison, too many prisoners, not enough prisons,
Any alibi for grinding out this life, anyone who knows how to
Help save their country! The old stars of infotainment have ideas, 
Men and women of celebrity who know a television’s blast radius,
How one feels in the hand and how to aim it,
They snarl on giant screens in tiny living rooms,
The cable dishes, bigger than observatories, 
Pinging for solutions far from the monochrome shores
Of the lamestream, a unified field theory of enemies
Falling on the wreckage in their front yards like hail,
Help save their country!  Twisting knees into worn vinyl floors,
Hands clamped together in an Old Testament rictus,
Yet their God keeps telling them to wait, wait just a little longer 
For the killing and jailing convoys to roll, 
For the dark mills to smoke again,
For the saved sweet burning viral slave camps of home,
Love or leave, lead, follow, or get out of their way.