“We’re not working like this anymore.”
He pulled the tablet from out of my hands
And tried to smash it to the floor as if it were
Something rotten, something not worthy.
We were alerted that this might happen
By flocks of birds which tried to show us
By their flight patterns what this meant.
Just outside the compound there was
Machine gun chatter and then a ton
Of flash bangs exploded in the courtyard.
We ran. I stopped to pick up the tablet.
It had more power than any of these crazy
Soldiers waiting to be destroyed by misinformation.
I reached for my side arm and saw it had turned
Into something far more formidable than a gun.
There were thousands of bees swarming around
It, as if it were the sweetest thing they had ever found.
I pushed my way past the gates and shouted
Something I cannot recall at the present time.
I could see the bees descend on their forces.
Bees give their lives when they sting anything.
We do the same thing as well. Within a hour
There was no longer any sound but the contented
Hum of the hives. Thousands of acres of almonds
Needed pollinating. The flowers were full of great
Sweetness. We pretended we did not understand
Any of what had occurred when the battle commenced.
We withdrew silently and carefully, holding the honeycombs
High above our heads, stepping over the plains of bodies.
The silences have become caves
Or mines and I became distracted
There by words. There I am able
To see them twist and combine,
To copulate letter by letter,
Forging meaning, arguing with each
Moment, bearing gifts for creatures
Who are barely able to see because
The night encompasses them.
Rivers of writers harvesting these
Silly words, believing they are stars,
Planets, moons populating what?
A book, an essay on planetary motion,
A poem about living in a remote
Village high in the mountains?
Finding oneself there upon waking in the
Morning without any sense of how
One travelled there. Finding work
With a people who do not understand
Whatever one is saying. Listening
For the silences, working in the deepest mines.
MAIN STREET, NIAGARA FALLS, NEW YORK
I don’t know what they did.
We were sleeping soundly.
The rush was over, even the river
Didn’t seem in a particular hurry.
Later, I went down to the main
Street but nobody was out. The whole
Place looked like it had been forgotten
About thirty years ago; even the
Markets were closed. "A good
Place to Shop," said one of the signs.
I don’t think anyone is coming back.
There can’t be more than a few
Thousand people here now, mostly
Good folks, but enough idiots
To keep the police working.
I would love to stroll down
That street when something was there
Again, but all has been eaten
By time. There is nothing but rust,
Bones, cars, and somewhere, a bakery.
THE SONG ARRESTED
I do not like to come to these streets
Any longer. It has become much too hard
To avoid seeing the ghosts who live there.
They are part of the buildings or
What’s left of the buildings.
It has never seemed like morning
Here. The sun a messy egg yolk
Running through the alleys into the drains.
There was never a complete sentence spoken
Here that wasn’t filled with even more
Streets, circles spinning by, so close
To consuming one that the wheel hubs
Slice one’s clothing to shreds.
Paragraphs of shirts, chapters of trousers,
Even the tears are broken further. Unable
To recognize any streets, any where.
There are no streets to come to.
Thoughts excuse themselves
Without knowing they have done so.
These streets are not consequences.
The drains become clogged.
They fill with a clouded water.
My feet disappear. I become
A ghost. I become the buildings.
I become the labyrinth.
I do not like to come to these streets
Any longer. They have become much
Too difficult to navigate.
They have become myself.
A FRAGMENT FROM A DESTROYED JOURNAL
Where the meanings are
Left out in the street
To find their own way home,
Distressed by their inability
To recognize anyone who
Once, on the top of a mountain
Streams began from florid
Displays of weather, snow,
Sleet and freezing rain.
Then rivulets and finally streams,
Cutting canyons where entire
Groves of trees might hide
For hundreds of years.
I see you standing by the curb
Looking at the debris wash past.
Your hair wet with rain and plastered
To your head.
They hacked their way through
Miles of jungle to establish this place.
They cut stone, brought their best
Artists here to carve stone,
Decorate the walls with stories
So that all might remember
How powerful their civilization
Had become. The trees lifted
Even higher than their temples.
They were filled with Howler
Monkeys and birds with brilliant
Plumage. These creatures made
Their own songs, more powerful
Than Copal smoke rising from
Windowless rooms and broad
Plazas. Above all, rain triumphed
Over the place, burying it in the mists.
Now we have come and time,
Wicked in its deliberations,
Asks us to find these places
Monkeys walk in these rooms,
Looking for fallen fruit and insects.
The rain has continued for almost
Two weeks now without letup.
We stumble through these crumbled
Palaces and believe we hear crying
In the night above the night music
Thousands of creatures bring to
We can no longer wear our clothing.
The rain has washed it away,
As it washed our homes away.
We stare through dissolving eyes.
All who lived here return here.
We see their shades move among
Us. They trade maize with us
For cheap telephones and electronics.
We can hear their ancient music
Through our headphones. We fall
To our knees. The rain continues.