REMEMBERING THE JUNGLE
If we could only
Remember how the
Words worked, the ones
That helped change the seasons
So that no one would notice
Until time itself had piled
Up snow or leaves or
Rain upon rain into the center
Of a month, but we
Could not. Here faces were burned
Off, limbs were regarded
As cord wood, milk spilled
From mouths. We could not
Begin to disguise our disgust
Of the shape dreams made
On the walls of our villages.
Someone said the wands had been
Taken from the area long ago.
Still, we could see lights in the jungle
Night occasionally. They were music.
They were our voices.
We thought they were our homes on fire.
HOW CAN WE SING KING ALPHA’S SONG IN A STRANGE LAND
The captain he come down and tell
Us come to the forest. We need
To see the trees. We tell the captain
We have seen the trees and now we
Sleep so we can work in the morning
Time. But the captain say ‘Come now!”
We come up the country to where
The trees were cut down and there was
Rain coming down, coming down hard on
Where the trees were cut but nowhere
Else just where the trees were cut.
How can this be? We asked the captain.
But the captain is a believing man and he
Tell us to make up the tents and go
Before morning come. The rain
Where the trees were come down
Harder and harder and begins to make
The ground very damp so things
Sink in the ground. Pretty soon
The big trucks are very deep in the ground
Above the wheels and the cars go away.
But the rain that is where the trees were
Does not stop and we come all over
With a fear in ourselves and we take
The tents and go to the north
Where we can see the hills.
The sky looks like it is full of water
From the holes the rain comes down,
Just where the trees were cut down.
It looks like columns of rain.
Rain is broken water. Maybe it will
Not stop. The captain says go so we
Go and sleep high on the hills.
We hear the animals leaving all night.
It is a frightful sound with this dark
And the rain coming down so hard.
It did not stop until noon the next
Day but we were gone. The captain he
Tell us to keep going so we travel. Keep on.
So small, the day, standing slightly
Bow-legged, hand on its collection
Of hours, a goofy grin on its face.
I walk with you down a street
Bright with all the tea in China.
There is wild music in the signs and colors.
There are perfect clouds a-roil above.
The buildings giving everything a just
Washed look, like the way your eyes do.
And sun, leaning into the street,
Scattering the cars before it comes
Swooping into your face. I cannot
Tell it from you or your from it.
Here it seems as if every day looks
This way. We watch it hitch its
Thumbs in its belt and follow
It from bookstore to school yard
As if it really could go on into tomorrow.