The silence

I don’t really like the park
like this—everything is winter
deadly— infused in sickly browns,
even the vigorous ducks,
under dark clouds
Transitions hurt

There’s often been a sickly side
to our politics—for instance, in 1951,
the McCarthy era, Thomas Mann saw
the fascists take control again
and, in panic and disgust, fled
Southern California for Switzerland

She loves me now,
attaches herself to me, thinks
there’s nowhere else to be
Jean-Paul saw through their surfaces,
to their cores of bitterness and greed
beneath well-tailored suits

Newsreel footage of the Nazis,
originally shot as Nazi propaganda
An incredulous newscaster in American
English intones over pictures of the bastards
in church “And they thought God
was on their side”

The true philosophers of that
era, the 1930s, taught us that
fine sounding bourgeois values
can’t be trusted or even
taken seriously—that politicians
will say anything

Lives narrow in time—
trapped like an egg in its shell,
careful as a wolf in the woods like
a rich tender density repressed
within a surface placidity,
so tight, colorless and weary

When the initial love thrill
goes, as it must, some leave,
some stay, some moderate,
and some break away
Last night I dreamt I wasn’t,
anymore, afraid of death

We are bizarre, unstable,
unlikely, improbable—
contingent before birth, after life,
coiled in a mirage of status
and control—roiled expeditiously
within the silence that surrounds us




-December 30, 2016-