whose cops are these?
I’m still in line
to buy you bread.
All these ghosts
that clean the streets—
I barely made it home.
I step in an oilslick
and I have a little hope
that I set it on fire.
that the shooting resumes
and when I call in sick,
I’ll try to afford the future.
But I’ve got debts:
starting with a day long ago
when the planes streaked over.
They were blue angels—
from my father’s shoulders I watched
as they made everything blue:
his windblown ski jacket,
the little ocean of stars in the flag’s corner.
I was a burning pinhole on the angel’s wing,
a blur of stripes that passed
with a shock and a roar.
That’s the first debit.
The day I first drove, and spun like a wheel on hot pavement.
Sometime later I hummed like a freshly tuned string.
And a million others—
The statement delivered as a thousand streaks of red.
And then I lost more time
to pay it all back:
to catch the string, stop the wheel, let the star pass,
and live like a quiet, buried stone.
From underground, I conclude that the future is red.
Because later, older,
everything is red.
the cheap cloth I wear
that comes from far away.
The leaves (thank god) coming down a little late
or the soil around me.
This doesn’t solve the puzzle or balance the accounts
but the red is just there; saying:
this way to the light on the exit sign—
past the balance sheet of jubilee,
the ink-dried stamps on voided checks,
the ruddy fuel mix now fed to the rocket’s injector:
through the door, here is the blood of a martyr.
But let’s keep it simple:
If I had a budget, I’d put most of it towards red sand,
the part of me linking ground to sky,
the iron rich deltas of American excess
that I give you permission to pulverize
so long as you do it together.
If we don’t live to see it,
let it remind them of dust on Mars,
the very same that will greet them
at the lander’s door
with the placid silence
of a world without credit.