Life Was Given

Someone has to sing so I do

Beside the hole, my father’s grave

& it’s April snowing Jesus distant

Our Savior much like a blue jay

Going about his business

Talking to no one

Up in a birch.

 

I take a bird as counsel

Say to my father

“Life was given us

That we will sing

To ghost & bird.”

 

Ezra Pound in My Dream

Ezra Pound in my dream, the young poet

Resembled a singing cobbler—

Instead of shoes he held

Sheets of papyrus

One in each hand

Two stark white portals

Beckoned as if one could enter

 

& veins on pages

Words & omens

Fritillaries

Butterflies

Theban scrimshaw

Flesh perfected

Diagrams of possible life

 

Planh

 

I was hurrying in the railway,
Blind man with his dog, dragging luggage,
Drifting sideways, talking to myself,
Modernist vaulted skylights
Above where one pictured
God peering down through soot

For he too saw through a glass darkly
When he deigned to examine us
As I was certain he did just then
In Milan, April,
The poor jostling all about us.

Reading Alone

Spreading tales of war across two tables—dogs at my feet

Chimney smoke, Russian tea in a glass,

How young the mind still is

While the exophthalmic Greeks strut

And waves behind them

Wash like hay on hay—

War stories late afternoon

My neighbors thinking of dinner

Spring arriving high in the trees

The neighborhood fills with particles of green.

Confession

I want to be the sort of poet whose words build homes for people,

Who reaches agreement with granite and oak to come near—

Habitation is a restlessness among all things, homes require magic.

If possibly there was anything I could do

To give you warmth, well I’d do it.

In my world most things are hidden save for my heart.

Poem on a Bus

I go inside the electric line,
The dream of crows,
Stretched out like a trumpet note,
Upswing, blue, long as ten lives–
Swinging my arms, jouncing,
Flat as a stingray
In fizz of static pulse,
Not a place, but
Where I was always from.

Drink Six Glasses of Water a Day…

“Let them, when they once get in

Sell the Nation for a Pin;

While they sit a picking Straws

Let them rave of making Laws;

While they never hold their Tongue,

Let them dabble in their Dung.”

Excerpt From: “Jonathan Swift: The Reluctant Rebel.” iBooks.

Some days while trying to imagine how to live and what to do—not an exercise but the real thing for you’re disabled, and agencies, services, medical programs that have kept you alive are being dismantled—you must raise your head from despair and picture your enemies dabbling in their dung.

The opportunities always involve wheelchairs, the infirm, the terrible old, or the deformed young. Let them rave of making Laws—or better yet, unmaking them. Trump and his pin selling and smearing minions are hard at work making certain that no child with a disability will get an education or a meal. No family with such a child will get medical care. Cutting medicaid by a third will kill people.

The operative phrase is “trying to imagine how to live and what to do…” Though I’ve been unemployed, have lived in section 8 housing, have survived with the help of food stamps, have received Social Security Disability—though all these things are true, I’m one of the very luckiest disabled for in my mid forties I landed a job and I still have one. I’m one of the ten to fifteen percent of the the disabled who’s employed. But I only survived to “become” a tax payer because of the programs mentioned above. And it never escapes me for a minute that Trump’s proposed budget will render even more cripples both unemployed and largely homeless.

I’m wildly angry. Horrified. Helpless. Sealed in my distemper and terror. I feel like a man I used to know who owned a cottage on the shore of a very stormy lake. One day he went down to the water and began beating it with his fists. “Godamn you lake!” he shouted. I want to shout in the street. Wave my little fists at the wind and trees.

People I know and love are going to die under this administration. On Facebook I see people saying that surely Congress won’t let this budget happen. But this is not the Congress of Tip O’Neil and Everett Dirksen. This Congress will in fact let this budget happen. All I can think of is that man who went down to the shore and beat the water.

My local congressman is a rebarbative and shallow dude named John Katko. He’s held no town hall with his constituents and shows no signs of doing so. I can’t even go downtown and shout at him.

How to live? What to do?

Keep writing. Keep speaking out. Keep your wits about you. Don’t let fascists steal your soul. Nurture goodness. Drink six glasses of water a day if you’re lucky enough to still have clean water.