Tuesday, August 28, 2012

483. The Uncertain Knight

Night falls, the mountains fade,
and the lamps are lit in the east.
After the feast I know you must retire
with the other women. I cast a sigh
for I have caught your roving eye
as I shuffle closer to the fire.

Night falls, the fountains hiss
and sing in the garden, a splash
of water on stone. I feel so alone
no matter what I try. My father
is a beast within me, a clash,
an abyss of water and burning fire.

Night falls, and I clutch my sword,
in which I place no trust, the blade
is sharp, keen steel, it has no rust
and it mocks me. How can any girl
really love me? I place you above me
in this, in all, in whatever’s made.

482. Irish-Americans

Americans of Irish Ancestry

Nothing means nothing at all
until historians knock, come in to call
and place their markers here and there.
Never knew what was happening, I swear,
until I read your best-selling book,
Mister or Missus or Mizz.

I was living through historic times
with no sense of a change, the range
of the stones we threw was paramount,
and as a revolution this would not amount
to much, but it did in Palestine. I am amazed
how the rebel Irish set the tone, dazed

by the way everyone else gets shot down
or clubbed or imprisoned, in India,
South Africa, Syria, you fuckin name it,
and I know we are the the guys to blame
for telling people to get off their knees
and stand up. Cousin Martin back in the day

was living in Amerikay, minding his own
bizness, getting along so easily as the Irish do,
when they fucked him into the military, sent
him off to Vietnam. I don’t like this, says Martin,
gazing on the departing body bags. I think this
could soon be me: no return to Éireann mo chroí!

It was a very bad war to send in the Irish,
because like the Mexican War a century before
they felt a certain sympathy for the other side.
Who’s beating the fuck out of whom and why?
Racism kicked in, and also loyalty to friends,
but it was a wrong war against the wrong people

with a need to make amends. I don’t know
if we can ever do so. Every single bloody war
America starts, and by God they start a lot of them,
the Irish are right there by their side. They say
they are Americans now. I believe that, how

could you not believe them? It’s in your face, it’s true,
but for God’s sake stop being stupid, stop being dense,
stop pushing, and have a little bit of sense! Our belief
is still with that Shining City Upon the Hill, and the will
to be a free people living in a free country.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

481. Dutch Cicadas

Cicadas march on to their shift at daybreak, since
you'll never hear the buggers at night. They have
their factory horn: drop your cocks and grab your socks!
It’s reveille, a revelry of summer sounds. A summer morn
as long as these rockers are around, a pervading blight
which can either drive you nuts, or make you reach
for Pina Coladas on the beach, your sunglasses just so,
waiting for that heiress from Indiana. Juliana was still

Queen of the Netherlands when my father fucked off
for New York and didn’t like it. New Amsterdam was a joke
with nothing left but misspelt names: Harlem, the Bronx,
Roosevelt. He lit off with another bloke for Miami Beach
on Trailways Buses through the Deep South, his mouth
opened wide, a constant O of wonder. A lynching in Georgia,
a bottom pinching of a Charleston Beauty. But that was a fat
old white man, member of the Klan, so he was all right.

Travelling on by day and night, the sun a constant trial,
for the Hollanders of his generation did not grow tanned
but proceeded from pink to red to scarlet to near imminent
self-explosion: a phial (bah!) even a gallon of sun lotion
came as little relief. Stubborn, pig-headed, Dutch beyond belief,
he headed for salvation, immolation, between the sea and sand!
Of course he made it. Not only that he met my stunning mother,
stole her off some New York hood. She liked his peeling nose

and reckoned things might turn out good with an honest man.
She was right about that. Pretty girls know men will chase them
for a certain while: be bad, if you like, but make your pile
before the party's over. My Mommy wasn't a hard case, not really,
she wanted out soon. She married my Daddy, Dirk Van Roon,
and lived happily ever after. My sister and I grew up in style,
amid songs and love and laughter. But they are sadly dead now,
as so many people we love are dead. The lines have been read.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

480. Consolation

“Love don't make things nice - it ruins everything.
It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren't here to make things perfect.
We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and to love the wrong people and die.”

- Moonstruck

You know the way you just
run into people, as if by accident?
Strangers, I mean; this is
definitely the main theme
in all our lives. I've often heard
children can’t choose their parents.
So what? I say parents can’t choose
their kids. You take what you get,
but when it comes to chance encounters,
you never know what will happen.

This is a poem about you, by the way.
OK, I may not know your name, sorry,
but I know you very well. This same stuff
has also happened to you, don’t even
begin to deny it. How did you meet
the first boy or girl you ever slept with?
How did you meet the person you married?
When did you start thinking, Omigod,
I wish, I wish I’d waited. Never at all?

Liar. But that’s all right, because we all
tell lies to ourselves. We have to prop up
the façade of who we think we are, who
we think we want to be. Hey, it’s normal.
Otherwise you go quietly insane, take pills,
jump off some fuckin bridge, steer the car
in the oncoming lane. Reality is not good for people.
We need all those little ways of avoiding it,
so if we don’t fall down the stairs, don't get shot,
don't board the wrong plane, we make it to old age.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

479. Afghanistan

There is an Afghan strain in me, loud and ebullient,
as I wear helmets with colourful fluttering streamers
that match my marvellous pantaloons. I tease
my hair into ringlets, put dark kohl under my eyes,
and look sexy, decadent and dangerous.

This pleases me exceedingly.

I know dancing boys with bums like peaches,
alas, alas, on the other side of the river!

When the British came the first time
we murdered Sekundar Burnes, assassinated
their commissar McNaughten, and simply waited.
Elphinstone was an old man, a weak commander,
he decided to retreat to British India.

Hoo, hoo, hoo, what a fool!
We cut them to pieces, murdered them all
in the snowy passes from Gandamak to Jalalabad.
What a wonderful killing time that was,
and the old grandfathers made songs and poems.

Now we have the Feringhi again, not Russians,
but Amerikhani, Anghrezi, some others.
Why do they keep returning? One wonders,
since the result is ever and always the same.
They die, we die, and in the end they leave.

It has always been so.
historical reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Anglo-Afghan_War