Sunday, April 30, 2017

Learning Revolution

I know under the rubble there are burnt faces
and the cracked columns of the past
are glued together with a human glue,
and if I were brave enough,
I could toe the ashes aside
and find the knotted fingers of the people
sticking up imperceptibly
like stubble on the earth’s chin.
I wouldn’t care 
that the nail on the small toe of my right foot
has never taken a proper form
and that when I clip it,
it’s like cutting a cork with a scissors.
There are no clues in anatomy,
for even a pillow can be used as a weapon,
and the fluted cucumbers that brace up my ego
seem to have been passed on through the centuries
and have lodged themselves
between the thinking and doing,
between the palm and the tool.

There are discarded plots in the city
sloping down from the highways
between tenements,
and the ailanthus, that arboreal weed,
is like a gravestone over the lives of the people.
If you listen carefully,
you can hear the chirping of crickets.
There the people spring up like tiger lilies,
and along the roads you can see
their tall stems eyeing the cars.
Propped up by the windows, waiting,
a broken spring in their back,
the old are not docile,
for under their blankets,
arthritic fingers, like human wisteria,
are clustered and living.

And I look down at the children bunched up
in front of me like grass swaying on an enormous field,
and I can see the timber in their eyes
and I can hear the hammers in their brows.
I know their questions are the real monsters
that frighten them,
and I would like to tell them there are no
animals that bite,
because they are always asking.
What I’m saying is I’m redirecting
my thumbs to the proper spaces.
I’m linking elbows over the long marches.
I can feel the cold and my teeth
are chattering like marbles.
I can hear my heart bouncing after me,
but how long can I wait?
There were moments in the night when
I swear it seemed to have stopped beating
for a full minute, and I was scared.

No, I am no distinct rose and the thorns
in my bed are of a human making.
I’m taking my lessons slowly,
I’m not going beyond myself.
I’m learning a new language.
And when the deep faces of the people
are cemented together like bricks in a wall
and my arms have become fluent with possibility,
here will be no creation more powerful,
more inclusive, more human,
and the glass door that I’ve swum behind
for so long will have shattered
and been swept away in its wake.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Shoe History

Shoehorned into a bed where the wolf settled,
sat silent on the sheet and waged water
at my lids, a lone sub in a ocean, the walls 
groping like a gnarled rabbi, a dead garden 
where a fierce teen and a bottle were hunched over 
in a corner and I too frightened to whisper, floating
steadily into my title, my fable, the blazed cradle
where mother swathed me in candles and efficient love. 
Raw were the live bogeys, the pale kohen
who delivered himself holy from door to door
when doors were open to hucksters, to wolves, I spun 
dizzily, a draydl, encrypted with four letters,
each a suffusion of the brown wingtips my father
succumbed in, wore in the Wild West of Manhattan.