Today's poem is by Mary Jo Bang

G Is for Not Just One George

Gilbert and his brother, plus the monkey,
Plus the Boy, plus the place to touch,
Plus the force in a high-speed plane at upper altitude.
Then there is the grape we learned to drink

And the gas we loved to guzzle and the nightmare
Of a president we suffered to the world
When he looked into the gorge between true and facile
And said, Bring them on. Sad, sad,

Sad going world nowhere.
"They" say curiosity is what keeps us going.
(The girl who only repeats what she hears
On the NPR smacks her gum

And fingers her Hop-along gun in its holster;
She purchased it in August on eBay.
Graphic novels are all she'll read, she says,
But she's lying. At night she reads Goethe

And studies the German way
Of saying her gutturals.
Get your hands out of the gutter, Girlie.
She doesn't dare look his way but only spits

Out her gum into a tissue. She has "issues"—
Obviously.) And Gandhi, who can forget him?
Although clearly some have. And an earlier war's grudge.
Does anyone's mind go there anymore? The jungle

Heat, the endless night cicada cacophony.
The sick whir of the rotors, men clinging
To landing skids, sweat drizzling down
Along every subtle pattern a spine can possibly make,

The hovercraft adrift, pirouetting above
The American Embassy. Yes, Virginia, it is Saigon
I'm speaking of. And, yes, you're so right.
After a while, the mind goes silent.

Even though there's always a bid in, and the crying
Of another proffered lot. Another other voice echoing itself
As the gong of the inevitable "Going, going, gone"
While someone crumples over somewhere and—

We gasp, as if we didn't comprehend it would end
This way nor what Dylan meant years ago
When he played guitar
And said we wouldn't need a weatherman.

Copyright © 2006 Mary Jo Bang All rights reserved
from River Styx
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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