Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Answer This

Watched “Swing Kids” last night.
Germany, 1930s, nervy kids with their
“Swing, heil!”
And loving the Count,
Count Basie, swinging, free, black—
not goose-stepping, angry, compliant and Adolph.

Brendan asked so many questions.
Why did Arvin kill himself?
Why did Peter let himself be taken?
Why did Thomas stop choking Peter?
Why did Thomas shout “swing, heil,”
When the Nazis took Peter away?
Why? Why? Why?

And Peter’s little brother, Brendan’s age,
Why did he shout, “swing, heil,” also,
When the truck disappeared with Peter?
So many questions.
What does resistance mean? Was Peter’s father a Jew?
Why? Why? Why?
We answered, we soothed, we slept.

This morning there are more answers to
How to deal with fateful choices,
With the moment when choices unfold.
How many moments for each one of us?
How many wrong answers? How many answer wrong?
Rest easy about this:

Right or wrong the moment returns. Always returns.
Always returns. Each of us gets to answer twice,
three times, an infinity of challenges in a lifetime.
No matter that we pretend that we did not hear the question,
that the moment has not come, that there is no choice, no
option, that we have not the power to do right.

We have only to ask if we have stood
with the least exalted aming us.
Do they know us for a friend?
Answer me that.

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