Equinox

There may be other roles you recognize
Sailors at nightwatch
Soldiers on picket

But we are shepherds now
And it is Spring!
And we are talking . . .
OK, so we're not shepherds
But this is useful play

Like shepherds on a dark hillside
Drawing lines between the stars,
We reach beyond ourselves
To meet ourselves

Or are we talking
Just to fill the space between us?
To get over
A century that ends
in fireworks
And worldwide efforts
To undo the future?

Then we were dancing . . .

This is my real life.
The day is still wet
from the morning's rain
Pavements begin to steam

Killer 1970s guitars
rattling the dash
Driving west into a majolica landscape
The city in the rearview
clasped by night
Abandoned by the sun

At best, a graveyard chance
'Time to get your grip
& move on . . .'

¡O preach us some pleasant nonsense,
Por favor!

Amuse us, O Lord!
We are the audience
For your sneak preview
of Heaven!

Thrust into this florid maze,
Trust curiosity
To find its way
To cleverness

A long-awaited legion of idolaters
Arriving after giddy pilgrimage
Then came the prismed vision
As we saw the world through tears

II
No, it is Spring!

Three days of rain,
not Biblical
But more than this ground
Could take

Standing water everywhere

After 3 days of rain
They look like lakes
These fields near Hockley
fields waiting for cotton
Corn or soy
Tract homes or condominiums
Or little malls
Glimmering like fish-scales in the sun
As a sheet of egrets settles in
beside the lakes
That will not be here
in three days
In fields that will not be here
in three years

But we were talking . . .

Shepherds,
Or boys at useful play

You find the married men at 4 o'clock
Leaning against their trucks
beside the road
Sharing halfpints or 6-packs
Or, in the city, at a cocktail lounge
Trying to prolong the day's escape

But there are others
who are not here
Men
Who have years to speak of
Farmers, retired mechanics

Old men gather at breakfast
To direct the day into its starting gate
Booting the sun along a slotted course
Above the never ending shadow puppet dance of power
The energetic pettiness of mundane business

These high priests of expected disappointments
Raise their polyphonic song:
Life is unpleasant but predictable

If this is solace,
These men standing
up against the wall
These are the guardians
Of future pathways -
But it is Spring!

III
You feel like skipping
But the costume
Wants a more processional step

Will there be ruins where we walk?
Will our footfalls echo purposes?

Talking together as gray-haired men
with the guy
You looked up at the stars with
When you were boys

And wondering if there's a God
a girl, a goal
A meaning to the universe
& knowing now
you really do not know much more
Than you did back then,

These conversations
Like a diamond's facets
Like sunlight on fields suddenly made lakes
The subject always the same
Yet seems transparently
Deflecting something deeper
More personal - demanding
More attention
When you think it over
As you will, inventing
What you should have said
Too late for that now
And next time will be deceiving

A boy's job
To listen to the old men's lies
And learn the music . . .

A boy's job is
To listen to the old men lie
& learn the music . . .

I never been nowhere
Where the old Blues singers been
But I swear to my soul
I don't want to go there again

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