Friday, March 2, 2012

from the lost letters of general William Tecumseh Sherman The Sixth

It’s slathering Tuesday afternoon on the slats of Wednesday morning. That’s all. Pretending to be adults. Groveling. There’s a certain brattiness there that pricks tempers and morphs into an undone bad side, which is all that’s left of what we’ve become. Vast shipments of bubblegum go northeast for the spring. I am calling all takers to the pool to play Marco Polo with high heels on. I’ve been making up my mind to take my time. All this business we’re always putting on the street; it’s all takers getting refurbished into mind readers. Loom.

Very soon there will be children on the way, on their way to cultures of smog, wearing frocks and leading marvelous, sweat-free lives. Breeding season is compensated with lush grounds of meadows waxing towards moist, Lucite-like, see-through masks. Prospects, hooked with a good song to wake up to, make beds and coffee, but not sense. Very soon we’ll have supper calling through the drainpipes. Very soon we’ll have sleet instead of hail. There is no cake left for the ones who hammer and chisel their way through the ice of walls like these. It’s okay. Everybody around here hates cake. We prefer pie.

I am not talking. There’s nothing left that’ll hold my voice. A job that’s gone. A kitchen that’s home to a few families of mice. Mistreated prisoners of a war that was over before it ever started. I could listen. I could run for mayor. There’s a whisper between the stories, between the floors and ceilings, crushed into the carpet, and taken out with the trash. Ashes fly. Freeways get mean. Bigger plans make great leaps off the stage, plowing over an audience of one.

Willa Cather started a riot with flashbulbs and manure, just as thunder’s crackle fumbles with the gilded charm of sunset’s ocean. I am unlike all the things I’ve ever been.

The earth’s coldest there, in the fall, when summer’s dying all around. Poured thick, the night shakes off another attacker, and we march for November’s shores. It’s lately best to attempt springing out of action. We weren’t raised right. Clothes tatter off, minds make wind, a crucified scarecrow is drenched with muddy guilt. The trees are tallest there. The moon’s gone. We have taken all of our rights back, except the last. Remove my picture from all of your frames.

Way back when, wherever you’ve been, I’m churning all these copper souls into firewood. Trust gives me a hip check. I shoulder the load. Even in this lousy train wreck of a march my pipe’s still smoking. The ballet’s come back to town. The hills trade bronze back for gold.

The canned food in my heart is going bad. Gravelly roads veer, go mushy, and lament the tires they’ve known and lost. Hoist me up over the fire. Get the thorns from love’s wilt, stow them back where nobody lives. Finely good. Pet the shag from the slack; and me, I’ll tie most of the knots you’ve got left, gutless, sapped, and mostly just hurt. All bowed out, I am made of similar stuff as the rest. Sometimes even skeletons feel like dancing. Sameness splashes through the rest of me. Go ahead. Go get it. Suit whatever it is you consider yourself to be. I carry tissues with me wherever I go.

I am all not yours,