My Nation Used to…

My Nation used to…
hold my hand against monsters that went bump in the night
She used to…
uplift my adolescent dreams of deciding what is wrong, what is right
My Nation used to applaud strangers
and allow them into our fight
In moments such as these…
darkened by self imposed dread
I had been raised to rally upon character
I had been taught to only bring enough food for everyone
to share, to share, to share.

My Nation used to…
not fear the shadows but embrace the light
She used to…
promote my speech and demote the placard might
Within the consoles of a closet…I could put my thoughts in a box
And,
my Nation used to rally me to fight, fight, fight

Guilty as Charged

guilt-2

To castaway…

The sweats.

The shakes.

Take long morning walks.

One sided talks.

And,

it is not the toll of death…that bring forth the tears.

Nor,

the let’s make pretend and forget…years.

 

Why is it the fractured limb…seems always the last to fall?

Why is it the large than life…pray on the smaller than small?

 

This life of…walking and rolling with the punches…

This feel of…your self motivating guilt…has lost it’s usefulness.

 

I can no longer take hand me down trips.

I may have been bred sick.

But I can choose to not live in your illness.

That is my prayer…as your god is my witness.



 

Daddy by Sylvia Plath

You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time——
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
Big as a Frisco seal

And a head in the freakish Atlantic
Where it pours bean green over blue
In the waters off beautiful Nauset.
I used to pray to recover you.
Ach, du.

In the German tongue, in the Polish town
Scraped flat by the roller
Of wars, wars, wars.
But the name of the town is common.
My Polack friend

Says there are a dozen or two.
So I never could tell where you
Put your foot, your root,
I never could talk to you.
The tongue stuck in my jaw.

It stuck in a barb wire snare.
Ich, ich, ich, ich,
I could hardly speak.
I thought every German was you.
And the language obscene

An engine, an engine
Chuffing me off like a Jew.
A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.
I began to talk like a Jew.
I think I may well be a Jew.

The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna
Are not very pure or true.
With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck
And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack
I may be a bit of a Jew.

I have always been scared of you,
With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
And your neat mustache
And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You——

Not God but a swastika
So black no sky could squeak through.
Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.

You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that, no not
Any less the black man who

Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.

But they pulled me out of the sack,
And they stuck me together with glue.
And then I knew what to do.
I made a model of you,
A man in black with a Meinkampf look

And a love of the rack and the screw.
And I said I do, I do.
So daddy, I’m finally through.
The black telephone’s off at the root,
The voices just can’t worm through.

If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two——
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.

There’s a stake in your fat black heart
And the villagers never liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.

Walk On

As she walks by in platform sandals

A portrait of pain and strength

The perseverance is aged by a life lived on tanned feet

Innumerable moments there have been since her fervor has strolled by my door

Timeless panicked seconds when she should stay but still she goes

Not always red, white or blue but forever a rainbow hue

I am needlepoint aware of where she walks today

She strides by with mask on and alms shared

It is not up to me to cast doubt upon whom else be within her infantry

To ponder her journey requires me to be just another enemy

When Great Trees Fall

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

-Maya Angelou