Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Dawn of Our Own Good Day to Die

We had not intended to be here.
Our goal
was change the world,
never to be merely chaperones at the end.

But defeats and retreats
transformed resilience
that often felt like revolution
into recovery that took too long.

When we stood again,
we sometimes seemed smaller
and fewer
and slipping into silence

while our world required us
to grow large and multiply
and share what we believed
out loud and lyrically.

Neither can we stand here
singing as if we were born anew;
the story that we tell
should be a long hard look
at why we lost,
how we lost,
and end with what we learned.

We are evolved
by what we do believe,
and how we have engaged,
and who we have loved along the way.
We are evolved
to continue
digging for dangerous truth,
evolved to pull on our boots,
to sally forth until the dawn
of our own good day to die.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Seasons of Hope

It is definitely an Outdoor Poetry Season kind of day here in Brookland, my cozy neighborhood in Northeast DC, where Pope Francis will arrive one day next week to say or dance (or whatever, pantomime?) a mass at the Basilica about a mile up the street. But he’s not here yet, and I cannot even dimly sense his pending presence. We are moving slowly, but with something like purpose.

I sat down under a tree to write. And wrote a poem and moved on. Now, I’m on the roofed deck built up against the side of our house, listening to Natalie Merchant while I type. Her voice disrupts nothing, seems to deepen the peace. I’m drinking a lambic—a rather unstraightforward sort of raspberry beer—from a small mason jar. It feels almost like today is another birthday and (like old Eben Flood) I’m celebrating in the middle of my crowded all-alone.

This is the poem I wrote earlier:

is coloring this day
started in the a.m. with autumn
but has since veered to the moist heat of summer.

by me, I was gonna sit here in the shade
by the Brookland Metro regardless and wait for the next
surprise to come round the corner where two streets meet square.

It won’t be the Pope
when it comes about
as surprising as yesterday
Wait—that’s tomorrow—but when it comes

I’m expecting a beautiful surprise
with spring in her step
bouquet in her hand
and me on her mind.