however injured, in the head of their heart
I smiled, even though I knew that I was fighting with yet another farewell in the cave of time.
And when nothing could be done anymore, when words fell to the floor like birds that had broken their wings, I got up and left. Good-bye, America. America, good-bye.”
blue-tinted Avon ladies from Florida, smelling of anything but the oil of freshly-killed whales, loud-dreaming of future commissions and slender young men;
resentful preachers and blonde pro-lifers from a state in the Bible-Belt-Mind where their TV God regularly drops loads of anger and fear;
worn-out ballet dancers with remnants of dying swan on their limbs;
late night tourists from Buenos Aires and Tokyo, treasure-hunting in the underbelly of Times Square for the secret heart of the neon dark;
champagne-happy assistant profs from California, pleased with themselves and their second anthology, one mugging away from the Ritz;
pale pick-pockets, sun-burnt from triumphant smiles, carefully dry-cleaning conventioneers from Tulsa, Toronto and St. Paul;
middle-class guys negotiating with bullet-eyed pushers the value of dried angel-sperm before squeezing out fresh, green wads of Washington, Jackson, the White House, and the U.S. Treasury;
heavy-set emergency plumbers in dirty overalls, leaving their van, horsing around, and taking their time to quick-fix fears and broken-basement dreams for overtime pay;
over-sized black pimps with midnight tattoos and cool, home-made frowns overseeing white shift-workers in scarlet skirts and shrapnel perfume, who wait for quick weddings in wary, old rooms;
rowdy, hairy-chested sailors, out in aimless force, molesting the waning peace, gang-raping the open night;
young teachers from the video burbs, new-waving raps for their Sunday School kids;
former Palestinian engineers, their faith in home ripped-off like legs, transporting heavy, greengrocered hopes and buckets of hesitant flowers to the stony desert Bronx;
back-to-basics supporters of well-connected judges, throwing fresh-bugged apple-pies through bedroom windows to shield the law from aging humanists.
Casually-dressed minds on well-heeled legs, satisfied that Fascists only live on the other side of the big divide, intently discussing baseball, marathons, and the Chinese circus come to town;
bearded, medalled, Vietnam vets, orange-colored headaches in their lungs, wheeling their invalid chairs in circles larger than the angriest Arlington grave;
inebriate bag-ladies and Appalachian tramps, guzzling the good life, a few sips away from their final strokes;
overworked medics from San Antonio with spermatozoan eyes, sick of incessant restraints and rubber gloves, searching for two-stepping lovers and hot, three-stepping tricks;
Club-Med look-alikes, easy on the eyes, feather-tarring chosen souls with a thousand handouts of their “Jews for Jesus” zeal;
ill-nourished Indian newspaper boys guarding and flogging tomorrow’s issue of The New York Times, saving up for college in Vermont;
Wall Street executives, after-hour-suited, designer-glassed, trading factory loads of working souls for Mafia futures and forbidden shares;
swarthy, unshaved taxi drivers who fled Tehran, still dreaming of their Ph.D. and another jihad;
pot-bellied cops in tight-fitting shirts, corruption glued to the tops of their crotches like guns, ready to lock up the next angry flood;
cock-strutting peacocks with super-hung, urine bleached jeans, released from prison only hours ago, picking up driftwood and street-cornered fights;
runaway schoolgirls from Virginia Beach, begging for miracles to buy a big Mac and a shake, perhaps even a small supply of maxi-pads and cigarettes;
lesbian social workers who’ve purged themselves of husbands and booze, singing the praise of feminist politics and the joy of their body-built strength;
and throngs of pumped up, pimple-faced teens from New Jersey and upstate New York, laughing, and drinking, and cruising the volatile dark.
“You cannot be true if you have more of joy than sorrow in you. But whatever happens to you, always remember that the waves will rise and fall, and ebb and flow unceasingly. For in the deeps, millions of mixed shades and shadows—drowned dreams, all that we call lives and souls—lie dreaming and heaving the waves with their sighs, eternally.” *
And I welcomed the early warmth of another day.
*Herman Melville, Moby Dick, 1851
Chicago, IL, October 11 – November 8, 1986
and Philadelphia, PA, August 30, 2015
This poem is copyrighted. If you are interested in publishing it or adapting it to music, film, etc.,
please contact the author.