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Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Ides of March


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.


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.

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