Friday, April 11, 2008

Long March

On a long march homeward,
ambling, pacing, striding,
stirring memory.
Past the old Hilton, in 1968, a fortress.

We lined the avenue, and police,
one moment calm as sea at sunset,
next storming in defense of old orders—
disturbing peace and the peaceful,
betraying care and the careless,
invading dreams and the dreamers,
waking night and the nightmares.

As incongruous as that,
ignoring the almost palpable,
insensible to hovering wraiths and phantoms,
with the stunted decorum of her inherited order,
she walked by with her fuzzy dog,
smiled with the strain of strangers
greeting in the dark.

Embarrassed by her fear,
I am, 40 years later, an unknown,
but somehow detectable phantasm.
I first hallowed her, and then
hallowed others, all too careful of me,

Then silently railed at those
I had just blessed.
Full of ownership and pride, rich with fables,
entering this space, brushing aside
lingering past like cobwebs.
I insist; to wish to be here
requires that you learn the slope and diameter
of here the way memory left it.

Your way, edge and shuffle,
strut like fearless,
walking your dog, curbing our dreams,
shrinking from the crazy people.

My way the ghosts manifest,
restored to vitality—
sensual, different, here before us,
here after, here with joy, here with pathos,
here with loss, here bright and precious—
handed off to you, Could you be more free to act?
And I a wisp, drifting by.

Wouldn’t that be better?
A place, all places, rich with
something like ownership, but grand,
sexy, communal and to be determined?
This way surrendering to
the thrust and leap of movements and moments,
bounding toward a shout:
Presente (finally)!

The borders between then and now and next
falling; our blood, leaking and spotting this moment,
consecrating it with our essence, abiding,
awaiting fresh runners,
inevitably passing by.
Amen, I say, and continue on my way.

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