Some progress is anything but.
And my country is cold today, even if the roses are not.
And I would be stateless now, all for the sake of self-respect.
Listen to all those
hard-living shouters as they sing—
most of them blue jays
they could have died at midnight
had they been born
in Hank Williams’ car,
tho they might just as well
have been gamblers
in a steamboat rain,
if not electrons shuffling pointlessly
through brain tissue,
necrotizing brain cells—
most of them blue jays, but not this one…
this shouter of creole, this
Haitian a man
who in the ancient world would have been called
his arms wind-milling like a conductor,
homeless conductor of a meatpacker’s music
as he rides down the street on frightening voices
and all his damaged resources
just out of the picture
while shaking his fist at the homes he passes—
my house, my neighbors’—
and something lumpish
growing there on the back
of his shaved head, right at the neck—
a mud dauber’s nest,
or an impacted meteor from one of the lousier quadrants,
a soft peach he slept on….
god, all this language,
it wipes out the world & its pain
it so often wants
likeness to wash through
as much as consolation.
I say I hear, but do I?
And even if I hear, do I see?
What’s the point of our surveillance apparatus
if not to save the lives of the desperate?
“He rubbed spit on the blind one’s eyes,”
wrote the recorder of miracles, “spit & clay.”
So the blind one could see.