Saturday, September 22, 2007

Enemy combatants

Give me your tired, your poor and I'll grind them
under my toes. their hair blacker with blood, an
anointment. if they're beaten e-
nough they'll succumb to truth, that
terrorist trash they'll take my shit
and keep their mouths shut they'll
never tell 'cause they know no one cares no one pays
attention I'll make them talk I'll
make them fucking scream for mercy if I want,
over and over and over til the records

break, they're naked with their faith,
and bareness is now. let me humiliate
your boys and my boys. let me take.

Monday, September 17, 2007

he's in movies

There was a man all in black. Ageless, blond, nose red with cold, hat cocked. The folds in his pants were crisp. He walked long and tall and lit upon a bench. He didn't look at the ocean, though it was sunset-blue and ripply gorgeous, a gift of ever-changing lights and motions. He didn't count the flaps of pelican wings, exhausting communication of flight, breathing only during the brief respites of gliding. He looked at his wrist.

He waited.

If he waited long enough George Clooney in a moustache would come up behind him and give him a mission. He was dressed like the kind of man that George Clooney would come up to. It was going to happen, it was fate. I trembled with wanting to go over and talk to him. I had goosebumps. I was wearing a long pink hippie jacket and I knew he would not take me seriously. I was not George Clooney in disguise. I was the opposite of what he was.

I looked at the pelicans and thought, "fuck, I already forgot my poem." I looked at the man again. He attracted me. Mystery.

I looked away again, at the contained self-reliance that was the sea, and then I looked at the clouds, golden spun. Eddies of angel motions, I thought with a feeling of epiphany. The breeze felt nice but smelled like rotten fish. I moved farther from the sea, and soon it shifted and began to smell like figs instead.

I looked back at the man. While I wasn't looking he had folded. His head in the hat slumped between his knees. "Shit," I thought. "Don't give up. George Clooney will still come for you." He was edging close to giving up. Or maybe just wanted to look like it. (In these situations George Clooney likes to wait until you get desperate and do something stupid before he saunters over. "Sorry, I was hijacked on the way, terrorists." "Some preteens wanted my autograph." George Clooney is full of excuses.) If the man had thought of this, he was probably playing it pretty clever. A master's hand. Black bishop. The man was still.

I was in sandals and pants that were too long. The hems of my pant legs were getting grimy. I looked at the man, all alone on the bench. I had been sitting on that same bench a while beforehand. I had picked up a rounded piece of yellow old insulation that had been on the ground and placed it onto the seat of the bench. I wondered what the man in black thought of the insulation. It looked a little bit like petrified wood, but it was soft and smelled strange, artificially clean. I wondered what the man would do if I went and sat next to him. Or stood behind him, George Clooney in disguise after all. "This is your mission." "Can I ask you a personal question-- why are you here in a black hat?" I couldn't remember the name of that actor from the old time movies who wore that kind of hat. It began with an H. Humphrey Bogart, that was who it was. "Why are you here in a Humphrey Bogart hat? Why are your creases so nice?" It could be that he had been expecting a date of less professional status, maybe some girl had stood him up, but I did not think that a girl would stand him up. The back of his neck, where the yellow-blond hair almost the color of the insulation met the paleness of his skin, looked very benign. I did not think he had a gun inside his black collared coat. He was probably not a mercenary. Probably he was the kind of man who worked with papers to find out who the moles were and which Russians could be trusted. Then again, if that were so why would he be sitting by the beach?

Figs in the air, wet ashes in my mouth. My ears were cold and I tried to pull up my collar. Wishing I had brought a scarf after all. Briefly I entertained the idea that the man was a sorcerer from another world, had conjured his way here for an important meeting and found himself the victim of a mix-up. Tragedy. I let this run through me only because I loved the word "sorcerer." (Though I would love it better were it spelled with two o's.) But the fancy of that theory spouted away without taking its time. I wondered how contrived it would seem if I went and sat beside him. There were two other benches, empty. Could I sit at another and still talk to him? I got the impression it was only George Clooney he wanted to hear from.

I stood shivering and watched him. He was like an origami swan. He was so uniform. "Next time, maybe," I told myself. "Maybe every day we'll be silent together like this. Until someday when he will tell me all of it."

He never seemed to see me. Looking in the wrong direction.