1.30.2004

Facing Misfortune

May all the sky settle into your lap
When the time comes.
May the sun draw close
And bend down and tie your shoes,
When momma is just too far.
Feel the fall alight on your shoulder
And bury its claws under
Your stretched skin,
Drying like paint-film
In the sun, the sun that tries your shoes;
But they are too big.
You ride them out your door
And down the street, beyond the rainbows,
Into the storms, saying all the way,
Pity me! Pity me!
And the passers-by look through
Spotted spectacles and don't seem to see you.
May the storms have mercy
When they see the rainbows beyond.
May your rainbows stand tall,
Sticking out their chests in defiance,
When the rough and the tumble of every day
Wash up on your shore.
Among the flotsam, can you pick out
The gold and silver,
The Viking treasures that cast them into the sea?
Can you salvage the scars
That threaten to return, with the waves,
To the ocean and slink
Into the rolling blue-green expanse?
Can you mend the proverbs you discarded as insults,
That you dragged up fishing for advice
Or will the wind carry their stench away
Before you have a chance to gut
And eat them?
Your hunger will return like a stray dog
Who has never known anything better,
While the cruel sun
Steals from the night to feed itself.
It towers before me like a great citadel,
Housing apathetic nomads
That keep no time
Or wrong time.
Their banners sleep in the wind
And dance in silence,
And sometimes sing the disenchanted
Songs of once summer.
It's too late to save the headless chicken
That beats its breast like a cave man
As it tottles off to a place
We can only imagine.
Savor the chances Custer never had,
And let freedom be the soles of your feet,
Even when the concrete makes them ache.
When you leave your home in haste,
Don't forget to put on your pants;
Don't forget to let one foot go
Before the other,
And smile when the sky descends
To spread out a chessboard against you.