May 26, morning
I can feel him in the morning
like the guitar line
in “Free as a Bird,”
working its way
like a creek
through the woods
behind the housing development.
We want you to appear in our next study
of the habits of disconnected adults,
and the pool of candidates
is large, too large to be contained
in a single group photo. Our apologies.
Step outside to breathe the air
if you must, don't bother
to hobnob with the donors,
sure, you can light one up
or knock one back, I won't tell.
Have they fashioned your droid
becomingly, all systems go?
It was like that in the frontlines,
always some joker trying to
micromanage, and then that talk
about Korea makes me nervous.
It's like the dialogue in a bad movie
we've committed to memory
for the sake of finding new meaning.
What are the odds, lieutenant,
and tell me, who was saved?
Was it a village or a pontoon bridge
you had your eye on? No matter.
Stand down. You've been relieved.
You'd think by now we'd find other means
of funding, but it's not so, everyone
seems inured to corporate glory
and the best historical sense
money can buy, after the fact.
That dream of the future
closing over us like quicksand
tends to discomfit the new recruits.
Doc Sprat always said, “milk
that turkey till he grins, and if he hollers
let 'm go, and if you hit paydirt,
keep digging.” But that was long ago
when men were men and women
were men dressed differently. Today
we all dress the same, all the worse
for wear and tear, or better for mousse
and cosmetics. Typify the entablature
of the early Ionian, if it amuses you.
Me, I wouldn't go near the excavation
in this condition. There are simply
too many unknowns, like the consistency
of the topsoil, and the names and states
of the neighboring towns, the effect
of the tax hike, the plans for drainage.
Don't get me wrong, I'm always
pleased to see you, a smile
can last me a year, but just now
I've begun to suspect our time
together is ending. After all,
you've already changed your hair
as though trying to catch the eye
of another. It's alright, I'm behind
in my accounts of the risible spectacle
and have promises to keep, your
house plants and dietary restrictions
are the least of my concerns. Should
you get back this way in a year or two,
look me up in the usual haunts,
assuming they can be found. Yes.
Me too. Now scram. It's closing time.
The danger of appearing in best light,
whether on film or not, will be our next topic.
For those of you who prefer videotape,
the way to oblivion awaits. Digitize
your random moments of inattention,
pretend to the omniscience of gods,
those rare and lucky beings on whom
nothing is lost, except perhaps this:
a moment that could be anywhere,
the twitter of birds, whine of an
electric saw, breeze in the trees,
rumble of automotive acceleration,
distant voices, unintelligible, male.
Don't fret, mon ami, some days
the world ceases to be cinematic.
That doesn't mean you need to have
your eyes checked, only that
the smell of cinnamon might
come as a surprise, make you recall
the cold plastic of the chair, birds
in the yard in the early light,
radio playing that Doors tune
all summer. School's out now.
©Donald Brown 2010/2013