Swallowing the nature that comes with every step
Fastidiously ordering the elements of the time
Honor comes with virtue heroes get a rep
With a taste of money comes a taste of wine
Born of needs becoming penetration of the egg
Wins the competition and becomes a fact of life
On the faces of the runner who suffers on his legs
And coming through in first place wins the Excellency fight
The cleaning and the signing/the continual arduous climbing
Each obstacle a test/each overture a personal best
The size of the little drummer boy and the Santa Claus Surprise
The weight of the diamonds answering right now inside your eyes
The circuitry of accomplishment the reason that we cry
Why there's inflection in a question and truth in every lie
And the seriousness about it inside where we can't hide
Is we are governed by assertions based on articles of pride
My country's not a symphony,
all harmony, discipline and skill
led by conductors in tails and cummerbund,
but a cacophony of reggae, jazz and twelve-tone,
quarrelsome, belligerent, rejoicing in discord.
Metallica and shrieking undulations
scrape sounds into rough resonance
without triplets, triads, or lofty cadences,
but slam-bang reversals.
Our music is not to burnish and blend
but scuff, rasp and assault
until nerve endings twang an edgy response,
each note reverberating opposition.
Our rhythm beats, pounds
and vibrates the throat, ribcage and groin,
with melody an afterthought,
then an open-ended coda
to an unfinished song.
My country's not a still life
of folded fabric, dappled pastels
trapped on an easel or decorously framed,
nor is it sleek and shiny art deco,
all rulered lines and compassed curves
that are glossy, lustrous and hard.
Instead, it's a work in progress
of tin, rusted steel and stone,
of uneven spaces
that make you dizzy,
that make you sit and look.
It's a palette of wild colors that don't match,
flung off center, helter-skelter, right and left.
It's textured hemp and homespun
so rough you want to scratch,
depicting shape and form.
My country’s not a stylized dance
an arabesque in tights or tutued pirouette,
a choreographed fairy tale
with saucy attitude, caractere and mime.
Its dance is a boisterous hoe-down
that clomps, stomps, whoops and hollers
and smells of saddle soap and frontier sweat.
Rudimental and ravishing,
it goes backward, sideward,
in counter movement, contraction, release,
percussive, sharp and sudden
as to whip the abdomen dead center,
to the innerness of solar plexus,
and arc between fall and recovery.
It’s muscular, resilient and strong,
that neither leads nor follows
but struts its own rhythm
and boldly says, I am.
Riding on this planet is like riding on a plane.
The aberration's that you do not know you're moving
unless you're by a window, and, of course, on earth there is no window.
But you're plunging forth, all right,
day and night,
from the instant you're conceived
and even after death from deep within the grave
with stillness only an illusion,
(while living) caught in a profusion
of minor meditations
or major cogitations.
It's rather like a giant carousel,
and you are glued to earth
by gravity. The dearth
of motion sickness is the surprise,
for your eyes
take in everything around as still that's moving too.
Without this illusion, whatever would we do
but ponder the hurtling drive of every stone of every size?
There'd be no time to orient
yourself, or to be calm.
We are carried by our blood, as by a wind,
stirred sometimes by blazing light, and by the very sight
of every object, even slight
that, as by a balm,
sets us down as with a gentle thud
on the sudden surface of life's tense and wondrous road.
Like the unconscious, the road itself leads us unwittingly along,
and we don't always know, as with science, those things we ought to know,
especially that madness such as this remains the central source of everybody's song.
I don't know what each seed knows,
but in my house, no green thing grows!
Nothing flowers, nothing will bloom
in my kitchen or living room.
Violets turn to brown and gray,
no vegetable can ever stay,
ferns all wither, rubber plants die,
go to that hothouse in the sky.
I water, pray and fertilize.
It don't matter -- everything dies!
Lost: the summer resort we owned
when I was a child.
A girl, running through that world,
along the edge of the lake,
my legs having power to changes its shape.
The water, cold and transparent
as a blue vase,
resting on grains of sand.
I slide into the vase, rub my body
against its bubble edges,
roll around inside my fur,
bask in its warmth,
breathe deeply through every pore.
I am made of water;
I drift wherever it drifts.
My body floats with me,
my thoughts float with us,
nothing is buried in the sand.
My sister always swam with me.
Our colors matched, as do lake and sky.
Her brown hair and eyes reflected mine
in a silent pool.
The games we played,
like running from Burglars
in the strange dark marsh,
were played as by one person.
At night her voice, then mine,
then hers again created stories
with one rhythm, one point of view.
I was part of my mother's body,
a ball that rolled away, bounced through
fields and brambles, fell into mud,
but never went far. Her arms
encircled me at night
while she whispered to me,
and her words and image
closed around me in a silver ring.
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