SECTION THIRTEEN
POETRY PAGE FOUR
 

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COLUMN EIGHTY, DECEMBER 1, 2002
(Copyright 2002 The Blacklisted Journalist)

THE HAPPY PEOPLE OF AFGHANISTAN  

They want to give themselves to something more
besides a dull monotony of days--
some gauze to damp their pain, to bind their sore,
a truth that trumpets through the PC haze.
 

An endless string of taillights beads the dark.
So many cars, but then nowhere to park.
Why is the Lord and end of what they do
so loath to grant a TV interview?
 

Come, shop the aisles with music by Mozart.
The bright faced boys, the long-leg girls, all smile.
French horns announce the chase. They start--
the two of them in bed--but just awhile.
 

Asleep the bombs rain down beyond their eyes.
Our global policy unravels to lies.
Sieg Hiel the corporate-liberal State.
In dusty caves the sons of Hagar wait.  ##

* * *

STILL LIFE WITH SUNRISE  

At dawn, flocks of gulls renounce the lake
and fly off west to feed--their cries,
like the cries of babies, fade to silhouettes
of wings that flap from water up to the air.

Something is happening above the trees--
still at attention, but tinged with trembling.
They are cautious of the light September brings.
 

I read the trembling written in the air
against the words of childhood lost like birds.
Where is duty? Where is fear? A sacred routine
of water birds assures the dawn unwinds.

My mother, in the garden of memory, goes out
in the morning too, with a basket for flowers.
Her skirt collects the dew like pearls.
 

I watch the beauty of her naked blade.
Zinnias, cut off like straws, give up their
platforms of color to grace a table by the window.
A light through gauze will play on their perfume.
 

If angels wrapped with robes of silk come close,
they surely bend amazed to see our ways.
The girl who spreads her legs like wings, the boy
 

who rides the midnight of the peacock's eye,
the man who stays bewildered in the waste of seeds,
these are what the angels see, then pause like gulls,
to curl away in whirlpools of brittle leaves.  ##

* * *

COUNSEL TO THE POWERS THAT BE  

If this were just the only world,
then I would have to weep
for all the lovers curled in sleep.
They hold so fast to what they own,
and pass it down from flesh to bone.
 

Such joy they take in spring beneath
the flowering dogwood trees,
to meld their kisses with the breeze--
but rolling slaps of skateboards bark
against the pavement of the park,
 

and such a hunger, too, in eyes
of strangers in the street.
When do these fasting pilgrims eat?
Look up! Twin gulls skirt drafts of air.
If only you and I were there.  ##

* * *

AT THE STOP LIGHT

See him by the campus corner, backpack
slung over one shoulder, jet hair bright with youth.
Not long will beauty wait upon a cliff of curb.
When nature blooms like this, it is either reason
or waste, and all philosophy is dumb to say.
Poised in thought, ready to marry his limbs
to the world, what will it be, what calls beyond
the pause? Our war against the Persian hordes,
damp days scribbling books, a season in hell,
or looking into pools to gather beggars' coins;
the pursuit of eyes, the victory of loins, a prayer
below the copper bowl of stale suburban skies,
then years of limping while his children dance,
or last, a hopeless love--the world rearranges--
all set, and then the red light changes.  ##

* * *

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