It’s come to that.
I’ve been sick of my country for a long time,
Ever since I stopped being a kid.
When I learned about the atomic bombing of Japan.
Then Vietnam brought it home.
I was writing Romantic poetry
Until the age of 12.
Then my poetic soul
Gently urged me to wake up.
I woke up like Neo in the Matrix
In a bath of amniotic fluid
Covered with suctioning electrodes
Which I pulled off,
Gasping for air
Like a premature newborn
Adult human being.
All Romantic notions
Of One Nation Under God,
Hand to the heart,
Swearing allegiance became just swearing.
Something hit the window of my house of mirrors.
I picked up the still-warm
Bird of my youthful soul
And got sick right there,
Sick of my country.
I have nothing to prove to my country.
My country needs to win me back.
Hand over heart, face mask for protection.
Stop making us sick.
a random student,
friend . . .
The sand underground is very dark
But I’ve learned to open my inner eye.
I’ve become quite the dreamer!
Been dreaming up a new world.
It used to be dark down here
All by myself, hiding
From everything that is going on, everything
Swirling around the United States of the Ostrich Farm.
Sure I miss running with my fellow birds.
But I don’t miss it much!
Nobody takes us seriously.
We’re sort of the muppets of nature.
Big eyes, long eyelashes, long scaly legs.
Fluffy butt feathers.
Nobody cares that I can run as fast as a horse
And that I have three stomachs
Which is helpful in a world where
There is so much junk to digest.
Did you know that I can see clearly
For over 2 miles with my Disney eyes?
What an irony that my sensitivities
Force me to keep my sight sequestered
In this underworld of sand and darkness,
Dreaming for a better day.
Can you imagine a world without elephants?
Imagine a world without people-
Now imagine a world without people-who-can’t-
Imagine a world of elephants without people-
Imagine a world of people-
Now imagine a world
Now imagine that world-without-elephants-without-a-world
within a world with people-who-
Now imagine that that world-without-elephants-without-a-world
is within a world of people-who-not-only-can–
is this world.
Imagine this world.
He committed murder.
He burned down a house.
He didn’t know what he was doing.
Let him go.
We can’t wake him up.
The sleepwalker is bulding a big bomb
To blow up a church.
In his sleep now
He is weaponizing his unconscious hatred.
The defense: He doesn’t know what he’s doing.
Judgment: Let him go.
Now the sleepwalker
Votes in a racist.
Embraces violence like a lover.
In a rare lucid moment
He pleads innocent:
I didn’t know what I was doing.
Asks the judge,
Can I go now?
I didn’t know.
I didn’t know anything.
Judge: Let him go.
Prosecution: Let there be nuclear war.
Let there be the end of things.
Let the sea rise.
Let the homeless wander the earth.
The sleepwalker walks out.
He walks down the middle of the street.
Cars swerve around him.
He is innocent.
Leave him be.
A seahorse thought,
A very small wave
Followed by another.
And way down below,
The seahorse . . .
And maybe deeper,
Some quiet resolve
To explore vast spaces
Of eternal quietude beneath oceans
That seem to never end. And yet,
Someday we wind up in the sunlight on a shore
As beautiful as any place imaginable
With no plastic
Nor any trace of war,
And there, to make peace with the memory
That we made it through
By simply being kind.
I am 66, he 33.
This will never happen again.
He is catching up with me.
If he lives to be 1000
And I am still alive,
I will be 1033.
By that time
California will be a desert.
But we will sit in an old growth forest
In what used to be Alberta
And we will talk about things
That would only interest 1000-year-old men.
Not health, because
We would have mastered the health-thing.
No, we will talk about dreams
And yogurt and colors.
Also, we won’t be using words
But whistles, like the birds
Who will, I like to imagine, flourish
After the Climate Crash of 2053.
I will smile and look into his craggy face
And he will see how much I love him.
And I will see his love for me.
I really like having an old soul!
It makes it easy to see beyond
And feel OK with the possibility that
Things may not get better
For a long, long time.
We’re not going to get rid of Trump
because Trump is an archetype.
Trump was already here
long before we voted him into office.
He was more like a transparent pink bear
but he was here,
filling up tons of space,
throwing his weight around,
baiting us in dreams that we repressed,
letting us know there were big holes in our dystopia,
the Benighted States of America.
He, or his aura, were around
swimming across the screen of everyday.
Long before the Republican Party
made him magically appear in the flesh
he was a big floater in our eye.
(But this floater is a bitch, man!)
And you know what the doctor says
when you get a floater?
“You’ll get used to it.”
And aren’t we? Getting used to being bullied,
lied to? Used? Impotent?
Used to living on the edge,
used to feeling ashamed
used to being shocked by our own sheepishness.
Emergency after emergency after emergency!
The pink bear, the annoying floater,
call it Trump, or whatever you want.
Call it the new reality show of shows,
call it the ubiquitous traveling circus,
the new all-day all-night show.
Call it the last act in the theater of fools
where there is no curtain
and no exits, and there is some guy
shouting “Fire!” ”Fire!”
And everyone looks straight ahead with knitted brows.
But relax, it’s just a dream.
It’s just a poem.
It’s just another daydaydaydayday. . . .
Here there is the rip tide.
And you know what you do when you are caught in a rip tide?
You ride it out.
It carries you further away from the beach
but if you don’t panic eventually the current releases you
and you can swim in.
Then you only have to worry about exhaustion
or being swallowed by something from below. . .
When I look at myself,
I see someone
who has been just a little beaten up.
My white skin is blotchy from sun exposure. My eyes are bloodshot.
I’m slightly unshaven. A little hurt in my sleepless eyes.
No anger though. I don’t feel any anger at all.
I feel disappointment, and sometimes a deep sadness
for all the suffering of life on the planet.
By 66, you need to have figured some things out on your own!
To be able to close your eyes, set up the video camera and talk about life,
talk about what you have figured out.
No ranting. No whining.
Talk to your children, your grandchildren,
other people’s children.
Talk to your people.
Talk about how you experience the universe,
what you make of the unconditional love of the universe,
what you make of aging,
and the wonder of it all.
How long should we wash our hands?
And while we’re at it,
How many angles in “Heaven”?
Just to keep things moving,
Dear little Ameise,
How tiny you look today.
Why I would even say
You have shrunk
To the size of an ant.
What do you call your monkeys?
The ones you put diapers on
And turned them loose
In the sunroom.
The sun got angry,
After it asked you nicely
To let it play with the monkeys
But you didn’t trust it,
And for good reason.