from One With Others

People study the dingy chenille clouds for a sign.

 

     People did what they have done.

 

     A town, a time, and a woman who lived there.

 

     And left undone what they ought not to have did.

 

          +++

 

     I take one more drive across town thinking about the retired welding teacher easing over that rise seeing the parking lot full of white men. I wonder if he thought he would die in the jungle [where no Vietcong ever called him [N-word]  ] or he would die in front of the bowling alley [without ever having been inside] or die in the swimming pool [without ever having been in it, except when drained, and the police had him in their sights]. Or if, because he was a young man, he would never die. I attach V to my driving-around thoughts.

 

     An object unworthy of love she thought she was.

 

     It was a cri de coeur.

 

     Those of our get had given her a nom de guerre: V.

 

     A simple act, to join a march against fear

     down an old military road.

 

     We were watching an old movie the night

 

     the table started walking toward us

 

     and there was trouble on Division.

 

     She became a disaffiliated member [of her race].

 

     I’m one of them now, she said, upon release

 

     from jail. I am an invader.

 

 

 

     Look into the dark heart and you will see what the dark eats other than your heart.

 

     The world is not ineluctably finished

 

     though the watchfires have been doused

 

     more walls have come down

 

     more walls are being built

 

     Sound of the future, uncanny how close

 

     to the sound of the old

 

     At Daddy’s Eyes

 

     “Pusherman” still on the jukebox

 

     Everybody’s past redacted

 

+++

 

                                                                                   For me

 

     it has always been a series of doors:

 

     if one is opened precipitously a figure is caught bolting from bed

 

     if another, a small table, a list of demands on school paper

 

     if another, a child on the linoleum, saying she wants a white doll

 

     a woman sitting on a bed, holding a folded flag

 

     a shelf of trophies behind her head

 

     an ironing board, bottle of bourbon on the end

 

     sewing machine on a porch

 

     To walk down the road without fear

 

     To sit in a booth and order a sweet soft drink

 

     To work at the front desk

 

     To be referred to as Gentleman

 

     To swim in the pool

 

     To sit in the front row and watch Run Wild, Run Free [next week: Death of a Gunfighter]

 

     To make your way to the end of the day with both eyes in your head

 

     Nothing is not integral

 

     You want to illumine what you see

 

     Fear reflected off an upturned face

 

     Those walnuts turning black in the grass

 

     It is a relatively stable world

 

     Gentle Reader

 

     But beyond that door

 

     It defies description

 

Darren Angle