November Poems

My rare political poetry, part of a 7 in 7 challenge:

Must’ve Bumped My Head

Must’ve bumped my head. Could swear I heard
on the 11 O’Clock news that a Black person
just became president of the U. S. of A.

Fell asleep waiting to watch the old white guy
pull another fast one like that woman
as running mate ploy. Tricky bastard!

Well, there must be an ice-pack around here
somewhere. This’ll all be over, come morning.
The chickens will be roosting. The cows will

still be chewing, lowing, waiting to be milked.
Everything will be the same as always. Same
old red roosters, blue skies, white house.

On the Balcony [For Jesse Jackson]

Standing on the balcony of
perhaps we can, you watched
the future crumple, dreamcatcher
rejoining the sky. Your country,
on the thresh-hold of tomorrow,
stepped back, wayyy back. And it
was about time for outrage.

On the balcony of tomorrow,
you look into the face of hope–
that promised land of unity,
the sea of shining faces–
and join a collective leap in faith,
believer standing before
the flag as many truly

pledge allegiance to this
first time, realizing that
there was an era for anger
and there is an hour for
tears of jubilation as well
as sheer disbelief and pride.
Now is exactly that time.

Short-cut to Peace

Some short-cuts aren’t much faster
than the long ways. This route might also
be prettier.

Don’t push, extend, breathe
too hard. It’s alright to take it easy.

No need to build or tear down, just renew,
re-build, reinforce. Bricks are good. It takes
a while to make them.

And it’s okay to get your hands dirty,
pause, think a bit, then push on, ahead.

Why, that really is a long path you’ve started,
and you’re starting to look a bit tired hauling
all that heavy stuff alone.

Me? Oh, sure. I’d be happy to help.
All you had to do is ask.

Cabinet Selections

This might be the most important
decision for a figurehead to make.

All eyes will register, judge, base
at least four long years of scrutiny

on past patterns and setting precedent.
There will be lots of mumbling about

the dirt and skeletons you’re hiding.
Girlfriend, go with the glass fronts.

Exotic-elect Without Campaigning

A new friend of mine, Bee,
says she’s running out of room
in her head for certain friends,
and I was so happy, happy, happy
to hear that.

I was thinking it must be just
me after all. Can’t be friends
with others anymore, expecting
too much, left in a daze, daze, daze
by their pure fantasies.

Wasn’t my idea to volunteer as tanned
Exotic, then mess up by showing there’s
an independent brain behind this mask
of sameness. I hear, I hear, I hear
the contradictory “just like us.”

A child of the ’60s. Grew up drinking
Dr. MLK, so passively resisting is my
trip that has its stumbles when
trespassed again, again, again.
I’m no bridge.

Spokes People

[For Native American Heritage Month]

There is no medicine on that wheel, the one
called “I have heard this story already.
Let me cut you off right there. No words.”

What one speaker might have meant,
revealed, shared, where she could have
re-directed…all is lost when a nonlistener

raises a louder voice. Where would we
have gone, connected spirits? What could
we accomplish as a spectrum of minds?

Spokes that are free to speak and hear do
more to keep the world revolving than
each tiny rodent mind that owns one wheel.

In Hard Times

From the bridge over the Mass Pike
you can look in the rec room
of the Cask ‘N’ Flagon, watch college kids
drinking beer, guitarist riffing his shiny red wood,
pretend that all remains as it was.

The lights at Fenway Park stay on all night.
At Kenmore Square, the Citgo sign glows,
jerseyed in red, white, and blue neon bulbs.
Good old Hotel Buckminster graciously hosts
Chicken & Biscuits in its yellow-brick belly,

foreign students emerging from its concrete
toes. Then, just as you begin giving up
on idyllic tomorrows of same-old-thing
at the sight of a veteran beggar on a milk crate
in front of the worst Mickey D’s in Boston,

teen lovers approach, wearing silly grins of shiny
-new, ragged jeans, swinging locked fingers. All
really is as it has been, should be, and will be again.

(This last, drafty one is screaming to be edited, I know, but that’s a wrap. Hope you had fun.  I’m exhausted.  Whew!)


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