Daily Archives: March 17, 2016

Powder-Soft

Letting this night go,
this bird or giant moth, 
as it’s leaving us behind, flying off 
on powder-soft wingbeats.

It’s been either mystery
or mistake, no doubt, but we’re not
getting another word as it goes
away; we’re being left to fill

everything in — what it was, what it
said and how it spoke.  It will not
serve us to make up too much, but neither
will it be good for anyone to leave gaps

where we imagine the truth should fit.
We should tell what truth we know
whenever we can, even if the night
left much unsaid. So let’s sit

on a bench in the dark and talk
until we think we understand, or 
understand enough to say plainly
what we think we know, what we

are willing to commit to: how to interpret
the mystery, how to fix the mistake,
how to get to dawn from here as the night
rises on silent wings, wounded or not

but resisting in
the only way it knows:

by not giving up a secret without
a sacrifice or an offering.

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Blood Song (Complaint)

My blood’s become
a culture of complaint,
granular with apologies
just scraping by.

Living as I always have
in the place between
others’ love and hate, my body’s
an oft-rewritten history and I am

not the primary author;
though I am trying to assert
my voice in it, it’s not easy
over the grinding in my ears.

Am I at once
as bad and as good
as I’ve been told?
When they insist

I am this and not that, when they
beat into me that I am that 
and not this, when they hold
the patent on what those words

mean, when self-definition
has been so disallowed here,
how am I supposed to hold up
my hand and say I simply am

when my blood’s so thick
with apology, when the scraping of it
on my vessel walls
is drowning out the small whisper

of my real name from deep within?
Sometimes it feels that it might
get me closer if I were to open 
a vein and let some of that out,

spill it on the ground — here’s
one drop for all my ancestors,
one drop for my hate, one drop
for my love, a grainy flood for all 

which is not me but which made me;
perhaps when I see at last
my husk, I’ll know
what I was from the start:

a rewritten history throbbing
with sluggish tales of theft
cajoled from the grasp of proud
and self-assured people; another tale

of a mixed blood boy
ruined almost before he started —
that’s the tale they want, the tale
everyone wants —

but no. No. I’ll rewrite it again
with the full pain of my arms 
to inform me. If that does me in
I will at least have not bled out

a stream of sorry before those
longing for it. If that does me in
at least it will be me who passes:
not their construct, not their boy,

not their exemplar  
of a national tragedy. Just me
cooling down, the culture of complaint
pooling down, the grinding at last at an end.


Loud, Louder, Loudest

Originally posted 1/7/2012.

Some days
are just one
turbocharged
evocation
after another;

then there are the ones
where you sit around
wondering why
it’s not one
of the other days.

Frankly, I could do with
a few less of
the former
and a lot more of
the latter.

Every moment of every day
doesn’t have to have a point
and I’m tired of getting stuck
and bleeding almost out
because of the ones that do.

Right now, for example,
all I want it the road,
the wide open engine, and
the loud, louder, loudest
three-chord songs;

a day with nothing to escape from,
no reason to be driving that fast
except 
that’s how
loud, louder, loudest songs

sound best.