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.”
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
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
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.
still holding the shape of the absent turtle’s shell: a mound of oak leaves scattered applause among the drooping trees - slow summer rain