The Good We Can Sense (Slam Revision)

Middle school hung a steel box from the bottom of my sister's chin,
so that she'd feel rejection twist and drift from her bones
every time that motherfucker swings.

The door to the box is itself littered
with the postmark of passing rejections
the graffitii of young gangs that roam these hallways
and tag what they can with the swift tongue scribble whips
of the hate they learned from their elders

they write letters for deposit
in the confines of this little box
dissatisfied by the transience
of lobbing words where the wind might steal them
they take to the great tradition of thinking man
of pen and parchment
of digital immortality.

The chain is dotted with the fingerprint fog stain
of the men that take these links
and run like dogs the women shrouded in Myst
to the waters where he makes them drink.

it is for this, that i do not know whether killing is in me.

I wake nightly to my mother's march in the hallway,
with a night gown and knowing eyes she carries handfuls of wished friends,
drives which seek the moon through graveled country and
kisses that have never known malice

she insists on piling one on top the other examples of a world that speaks to us in prose,
that give us an existence heavy and light as a St Paul snow
and Oregon fields where these lights can't touch us,

she's got these city corner spots with big windows and good jazz
and the boom of poets from their basements lifting cities to their feet
"these can be your shoulders," she whispers

these floor boards can hardly bear the weight of her good gifts,
little sister
she brings you not the nights that jade your sleep
but beds of kentucky grass
fires that burn the day blue
and a banjo that sends you swimming,
she comes carrying these things
and somewhere in the stacks
is a peace you haven't known yet

but oh when you do
it'll seem the tall oaks have stretched their arms
only to catch you

sweet sister, sense the good

here she holds legacies of our kind
the death ditches we crawled from and those northern lakes where we first find love
you are a place and a history
a people and a cause
and this, to you, our mother carries nightly.

outside her youngest's room, my mother crushes this all to dust, dances to the bedside and
blows that kiss o'r my sister's skin
hoping it all lands safely.

she crawls knees and palms to the wall
takes, lastly, from her arms the polished black stone of Lake Superior's shores
muttering the graces of knowing something immense.

then she goes to work on that first bolt.
careful not to tear the skin, or make magma of the metal too quick
she pinches it just so
wraps loose vessels around her own heart
to wring the last of the donor lifeblood
and sets her mind to the pulling
her tongue smokes of sulfur
gods fear her when she's like this 'cause
for them
this has always been the stench of revolution

but these threads aren't quick to slip
and if we strip them
it could be decades
that the bolts of middle school remain

so most nights, at the bedside
out the box, she lifts what contents she can and
keeps her cries quiet as she reads them
"we are progress" she says,
this night and the next.

No comments:

Post a Comment