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“Go ahead then—tell it…”

                1.
“Go ahead then—tell it
If you think it’s so funny
It’s your story; you started to tell it—
so tell it”
Thrilled by pomp and power,
uninterested in any inner life
Enraged, moralistic, harsh and desperate
her excess wasn’t about their happiness
Custom, privilege, injustice
that single-minded suffering, resistance, redemption
Highly educated, earnestly well-meaning,
her high self-regard, stuck in these sad, antiseptic American prisons
Relentless indoor winter heat
They’re like parasites—dangerous too, like predators
Blind to her own blindness,
moralistic, overconfident, dismissive

 

                2.
There are always things to criticize
but there was nothing that so frightened or embarrassed her
Her denials would never stop in any case
It might be better that way, he thinks,
but it will no longer be as good
Conclusions drawn, proclamations made
Every statement somewhat wrong, somewhat premature
she flees to the safety of darkness, shadier storms
Dismayed by his appearance he always avoids mirrors
It makes her uncomfortable to see herself in him
He sat there drinking beer after beer in front of the children
That was restraint—he would have preferred vodka or gin
Hatred alone couldn’t sustain him
After the explosion the company determined
the kid’s life was worth a cool 150,000
So they sent the family a check
                3.
They dance in the streets of Paris and Berlin
rush to enlist before the whole thing’s over
Three months later—300,000 dead, 600,000 wounded
1914 and the war had four more years to run
He loses a bit of himself each time he goes down there
His intuition could easily fail him again
She’s not dead—the rumors were wrong
She didn’t kill herself—she’s alive and lives
in a small, closed-in suburb just outside of Dallas
“I do have problems with my eyes and if I fall
I generally break something”
Powerful people often enjoy taking risks
The politics were sharp, self-serving, Machiavellian,
petty and sometimes very stupid
He’s 68 and walks on shattered knees—he remembers the glory,
the victory then and that she wasn’t there to share it
                4.
Views desperately imperfect,
his knowledge always partial
He flatters, kicks, and kisses
to get what he wants
Too talented to do what ordinary people do,
we bust up those we dislike no matter what they do or say
We glorify the people like us—
like clench-fisted members of some small, feral gang
Conflict, anxiety, boredom, fear
envelop them in this fog
If only she could forget some of it—
if only in mitigation
They always felt superior, she knows, but she can barely believe
it happened—she couldn’t know what those people might do
Not that it mattered all that much to finally fail—
her last story ended with nothing to gain and everything left was for sale

-January 28, 2012-