It was somewhere far away, another time.
Humans still joined together for peaceful purpose
not to feed on and off each other’s fears
and take their homes and children, kill them dead.
We listened to the healing music reggae.
We waved to people who were friends
we were sure sometime we’d learn their names
and invite each other to make love
not war. This was long so longingly ago
before the hate that used to simmer off of stage
was freed by despots to destroy all
we had won when we tried to be our best.
Listen hear the music’s echo calling
from the bomb-cracked wall more used to wailing
than to notes and rhythms of the spirits godly
in the times we had and hope to see again.
He’s a renegade, it says so on his Jeep.
He’s a man reflective as fluorescent paint.
He’s proud of what he has: the talk, the walk,
the replica hair-shirt that a drunken saint
gave him one time for a cocktail and a song.
Reneging not an everyday complaint
in his world, he is flabbergasted when
she stops, says going further is a sin.
He says they both aren’t married any more
than when he’d said ‘Outside’ and she had smiled
and followed him from Tucson to the sea.
‘I thought you were a priest, then, one who whiled
away his inter-sacramental hours
enjoying beauty: temples, birdsong, me.’
‘I am,’ he said, ‘both priest and renegade,
but neither knows what motivation made
me speak to you in Tucson. Was I bored?
Were spirits from a bottle in my blood?
There is something in your beauty I adored
when I had feelings, and an ancient flood
of what you call emotion made me call
the first word out that came to me. That’s good.
Analysis prevents me, quieter days,
from any action. Can this be a phase?’
‘An undertaking, while the undertaker
still disappoints by hovering offstage?’
she asks, and sitting up, moves feet away.
‘You hanker for me, but I’m half your age,
and you were born already twice that old.
Perhaps I am the ink set on the page
and spine of books you substitute for life.’
But you, not I, said No.’ ‘Don’t twist the knife
I handed you,’ he importunes. She laughs
and moving further off, she cries, and stands.
And he stands too, relieved, again alone
inside his thoughts, until one of them hands
him what she wishes he would call emotion,
as he listens to receding angel bands
and knows the moment thought about has passed,
and that soulless resurrections cannot last.
The goats go from the sun to shade
and those with collars nibble grass
while their kids, uncollared, pass
along the paths their elders made.
The voters vote in every town
while those who own the wealth of Spain
show an interest or feign one
in how the votes go down.
The almond and the medlar trees
shade the flock of goats and sheep
and frame the fields where shepherds sleep
off lunches of light wine and cheese
Miami eats the Everglades.
The hot swamp’s old talaria,
mosquitoes and malaria,
can’t match the workmen’s boots and spades.
A goat springs from a terrace wall.
A wasp eats an entire bee
except its eyes and one bent knee.
A sheep can’t cope and takes a fall.
The votes Dade County owners count
are those that help them win
the war on nature, do it in
and build a better bank account.
Dogs fight each other for a yard
that one of them is tied in
Bees build a hive in earth that’s hard
in the field where sheep get dyed in.
We fly down south and order goat.
We buy the best-priced dream.
We laugh that we don’t need a coat
and eat fresh figs with cream.