Is Nepal far behind?
Norway is glowing!
(the) Netherlands teach sublime!
Ethiopia is growing!
South Africa‘s kept to the time.
Oh Uruguay stop your stalling!
The United States still in its prime.
Australia and New Zealand dance away the night.
Written July, 1996. Forest Grove, Oregon. For my Guardian Angel.
Butterflies are free to fly away
That’s up to them
Heaven helps them
We can do our part
Roll along buildings
Knowing it’s OK.
Or Turn Gray
Knowing not what pupa was today.
Written July, 1996. Forest Grove, Oregon.
For Janet, Sheila, Bobbie and Gordon.
The first girl I danced with…
It was awkward. I
Remember her laugh – young, fearful, hopeful –
A great exploration about to begin.
So much human jungle ahead.
A 12-year-old’s giggle, a gold prospector’s shovel,
Brush, pan to dip to let the water sieve through, in nugget anticipation.
We touched, always tentative, my arm around her waist.
There was music. There were other stumbling dancing couples.
Our dance was short. Then we were on our way.
I remember her name. Not the music.
Not what happened next.
She’s long passed. Cancer got her.
Pretty sure she married in those 40 years – had kid-nuggets– found her way
Through the jungle. I honestly don’t know.
Our story was barely a pan-dip.
The laugh. Her waist.
Among ‘You’s, ‘We’s, ‘They’s
Space holds all spellbound
by far one of the greatest poems ever right
up there with
fucking walt whitman and
ee cummings to
I did not eat tacos today.
On taco Tuesday.
On Cinco de Mayo.
I had chocolate pudding
And a can of Coke Zero
Down ahead of us at the junction
There is a man standing, gesturing ambiguously
What meaning he is attempting to communicate
Can neither be told nor known exactly
Though we are aboard this train, passengers by association
We have forgotten its' destination
(My Canadian friend emails
About her recent visit to Auschwitz)
We have forgotten a lot of things before us
About that man standing, gesturing ambiguously
And we have forgotten who
Is at the control of the engine of this train
A glance out of the train window and behind
Reveals a dusty, ashen gray
A conflagration of black and white and blood red and the blues
A contamination of hate clouds the windows, obscures us from seeing
The man's arms are moving
But how to interpret the signal
Puffs of smoke as if from a starters pistol
But we defer untrained for these Olympics
No dais to distinguish the
1-2-3 (all aboard!)
We lurch and I grasp the safety handle
And pull toward me what is most important (my girls)
And misty-eyed from fear and grief
We hope beyond hope that this train won't move on (the horns sound)
Toward that junction
And on to the next gray, loveless destination
Never mind the small apartment,
Or the vermin infestation.
Those things mattered little or not at all.
He did not care - for such trifles.
Ignoring. Ignored. Ignorant.
No. The time came when Mr. Wonderful was obliged to find his way through to the
Gateway Arch, St. Louis, Missouri: The Gateway to the next world!
Rather than walk, or drive, or take the train, or commute
Everyday, he chose just a single trip to Missouri.
My guess is, it was in the unmarked white panel van,
Adorned with nothing at all, parked facing away from outside the crematorium.
In fact, it’s not a guess.
Nothing about Mr. Wonderful was left to guesswork: only the appearance of the
Sadness that kept pulling him away from me, from us.
By most accounts, his Art spoke for him.
Unrepentantly unpracticed scribbles labelled “Green Eyes”, “The Red Lady”, “Self-Portrait”.
Throwaway-able: one and all. “Professional Art”, Greg, his neighbor, said.
Really, though, “Self-Portrait” expressed it well enough: a head with an
Empty face. Greg and Jane and Brian, all explained it:
Mr. Wonderful was charming, but ultimately you would notice,
As always, him holding something away. His face: Expressionless-in-Practice.
Isolating. Isolated. Isolation.
Not once could he face it, face us; so my brother and I, we helped push him.
St. Louis, Missouri - pushed his expressionless body through The Gateway to his next world.