26 February 2023

Two Poems by BCAB




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.

At least—

that the shooting resumes

tomorrow AM,

and when I call in sick,

no one is there to answer.

Added up,

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:

the sky,

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.

Others followed.

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

in trying

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.

Accounts, overdrawn—

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.