Friday, November 14, 2014

Revolutionary Times

These are revolutionary times. When a sparrow
builds a nest and hatches its eggs under
my air conditioner. At dawn, I’m awoken by wings
fluttering, twig movement, chirping, small
noises, not motorcycles, shuffling, as if digging
the air for space, and then after annoying weeks,
during which I consider daily lifting 
the air conditioner and shooing the sparrow or
sparrows away, flinging the eggs into space,
I’m that bothered by their constant dithering, adjustments,
and then one morning I hear peeping, hatching,
not hatching, I imagine the eggs cracking 
and baby sparrows chomping their beaks for food,
and a sparrow, or sparrows, coming and going, I’ve given
birth, it appears, forgone my sleep for another
sparrow or two or three, and who needs them?
Do I? 

These are revolutionary times, when new
species come into existence, old 
species die out, sparrows, agitated
buttons of feathers, drone-wired with nickeled-
sized Gattlings, pigeons with radioactive 
droppings, my new fledglings (I’m part and parcel—
they’ve kept me awake) are just birds, just
little birds that chirp annoyingly at dawn,
I want to crush them, but I wouldn’t, nor do I love
them, I don’t, but they seem so essential—
if I ceased to hear them, see them I would know
all is lost, as perhaps it will be, although 
the “all” has no definition, and would I notice
it was gone? Would anyone notice I was gone?

These are revolutionary times in that oppression
is begetting oppression, and few accept that the lord
gods have deserted eons ago, and nothing
is left of them but vases and rags—splendid
edifices marking tombs they were never interred in 
but are the centers of wars, and my fledglings testing their wings,
beating under my air conditioner, what
could be more unnatural? They should have hatched in a tree,
in a forest, are their forests? Have they been bombed,
decimated, chained-sawed out of existence?
We grow where we can. There is nothing unnatural about
a city, no less for sparrows than humans.
Nothing metaphysical, just living, plain
living, that you and I conduct each day.

These are revolutionary times, as are all times,
that all times have been, that tomorrow will be.
I face what I have left, my fledglings and me, I bore
them under my air conditioner, and they will fly 
soon and I’ll be conscious of the silence. I  hear
them right now, as I’m typing this message. And I know
you, too, have heard something akin, progressive,
oppressor, and I have little confidence 
they will survive, yet I convince myself they will,
for how would I live? The sun will burn out, and I see
no arbitrary value in value. Just man-made 
ignorance, as if some men, so fearful 
of death, were so in love with death they’ll eagerly 
squander their own life and the lives of others.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Dissent

Belly flop down the white tundra of Brooklyn,
the caked snow that scared me more than the ocean.
Leave me be for a moment, let me remember.
I seem to picture a rock-solid hill
on which, with frozen fingers, I sledded down
helter-skelter till my numbness made 
me retreat before others. And so now: 
still not knowing the stout way of withdrawing, 
not wishing to be chided by friends, 
deemed a weakling, 'tis mom wants me for dinner,
and lift up my sled and leave. Today, with no
mom to excuse me, I think hard on my body—
peacefully toward death rather than face

the same frightening hill over and over.