4th and all is Hell.
Outside my shuttered breath the streets bubble
with flame-loined kids in designer jeans
looking for people to rape or razor.
A madman covered with running sores
is on the street corner singing:
O beautiful for spacious skies…
This landscape is far too convenient
to be either real or metaphor.
In an alley behind a 7-11
a Black pimp dressed in Harris tweed
preaches fidelity to two pimply whores
whose skin is white though they aren’t quite.
And crosstown in the sane precincts
of Brown University where I added rage
to Cliff Notes and got two degrees
bearded scientists are stringing words
outside the language inside the guts of atoms
and I don’t know why I’ve come back to visit.
Uncle Adrian! I’m in the reservation of my mind.
Chicken bones in a cardboard casket
meditate upon the linoleum floor.
Outside my flophouse door stewed
and sinister winos snore in a tragic chorus.
snowstorm t.v. in the lobby’s their mother.
Outside my window on the jumper’s ledge
ice wraiths shiver and coat my last cans of Bud
though this is summer I don’t know why or where
the souls of Indian sinners fly.
Uncle Adrian, you died last week—cirrhosis.
I still have the photo of you in your Lovelock
letterman’s jacket—two white girls on your arms—
first team All-State halfback in ’45, ’46.
nothing is static. I am in the reservation of
my mind. Embarrassed moths unravel my shorts
thread by thread asserting insectival lust.
I’m a naked locoweed in a city scene.
What are my options? Why am I back in this city?
When I sing of the American night my lungs billow
Camels astride hacking appeals for cessation.
My mother’s zippo inscribed: “Stewart Indian School—1941”
explodes in my hand in elegy to Dresden Antietam
and Wounded Knee and finally I have come to see
this mad fag nation is dying.
Our ancestors’ murderer is finally dying and I guess
I should be happy and dance with the spirit or project
my regret to my long-lost high school honey
but history has carried me to a place
where she has a daughter older than we were
when we first shared flesh.
is the one who could not marry me
because of the dark-skin ways in my blood.
Love like that needs no elegy but because
of the baked-prick possibility of the flame lakes of Hell
I will give one last supper and sacrament
to the dying beast of need disguised as love
on deathrow inside my ribcage.
I have not forgotten the years of midnight hunger
when I could see how the past had guided me
and I cried and held the pillow, muddled
in the melodrama of the quite immature
but anyway, Uncle Adrian…
Here I am in the reservation of my mind
and silence settles forever
the vacancy of this cheap city room.
In the wine darkness my cigarette coal
tints my face with Geronimo’s rage
and I’m in the dry hills with a Winchester
waiting to shoot the lean, learned fools
who taught me to live-think in English.
to make a long night story short,
you promised to give me your Oldsmobile in 1962.
How come you didn’t?
I could have had some really good times in high school.
This morning my sister, Susan Cleveland, and I went to church at the Leeds Presbyterian Church.
I love attending the Leeds Presbyterian Church. The first time I can remember going there, I was about five years old, and we went to the wedding of a classmate of my sister, Joanne Cage. The Leeds Presbyterian Church was founded a long, long time ago, (even BEFORE I was born!) in 1821. The church was built in its present location in 1891.
Here's one of the beautiful windows from the church; I think these were added in the 1980s. The interior of the church is beautiful, peaceful, and welcoming.
Susan and I especially enjoyed the hymns this morning, both being blessed with a love of music and remarkable singing voices. I think the people sitting near us were equally pleased, although Susan laughed at the funny words in one of the songs. She does this all the time. I don't know why I keep letting her go to church with me, but I guess I'm used to it.
After church, we had a delicious meal at our favorite Mexican restaurant, and came home happy and full of joy and good food.
Now, back to work. These days I spend most of my time at the computer, typing, typing, and typing some more. That's about it. Hope everyone had a joyful Sunday morning!
"A possum by any other name would still be a possum." William Shakespeare
Here at The Painted Possum, I'll talk about literature, fiction, poetry, art, music, Native American issues, family, geneology, POSSUMS and other wildlife. From time to time, I'll post my original stories, poetry and artwork. These are copyrighted and can't be used without my permission.
Sharing the adventures of Lily Claire and Willie T. as they discover the magic and mystery in the woods of Moonlight Ridge has been a great pleasure.
The second book of the four volume Moonlight Ridge Series is on the way, with some unique surprises. Characters from the past are lingering in the lonely, deserted places where Lily Claire and Willie T. spend their autumn days, and a few encounters with spirits on the mountain will lead the two adventurers into haunted, perilous situations. Watch here for upcoming announcements.