Today's poem is by Laura McCullough

There Were Only Dandelions

And the boy.

Everywhere, sound. Here: sirens. There: sirens.
And the crying

          [because one woman's husband
          doesn't love her anymore
          and wants to go to medical school,
          now, after so many years of lawyering;

          because another one woke up one day,
          told her husband, I don't think I ever want
          to sleep with you again
, meaning sex,
          and then he learned it meant not
          even the sleeping, the spooned, belly loose
          intimacy of Howler Monkey night;

          because the dandelion blew
          into a million parachuting seeds.]

          Pre-dandelions floating everywhere, to every continent.
There, too, screaming, just like sirens,
          and everywhere in between, each anniversary of the living.

My boy is in college now, one says,
          but that day of the bombing,
          when they called, I stopped at the 7-11
          to buy bags to bring the body parts home in.
          He was one of only four that survived.

                    [Whose baby, anonymous, in the trash heap

                    Whose boys aiming, aiming, falling in love
                    with the fear they won't ever outrun?
                    Whose child that one,
                    without an arm, a knife in the other?]

                    They're not all white faces, and this poem
          is not a public poem.
Not all poems are meant to entertain,
          like Jericho said, named
          after that city by that river
          in the hot place so many people
          have lived in, so many hostages
          been taken in, so many,
          so many-whose offices I can't name or know—
          no, not entertain, but sing just the same,
          a polyphony of song
          birds in the morning,
          snow geese aflight, guns rocketing,
          barrel out, sound through
          the beating blood,
          bleating animals, beseeching
          all those river gods
          for some respite from this suffering.

                    [Each a lawn weed having grown
                    up in some crevice,
                    against the wall of each life,
                    flowering heads all in all
                    and each in one, this explosion
                    on the seed headed-planet,
                    fractal imagining, and this
                    is my imagining, this declaimed I]

Though some of you—
          even though this is not a public poem—
          will say the I is dead; there is no self;
          no things but in ideas
          dead, yet no ideas in things either;
          and then the accumulation
          of linguistic artifacts heats up like a
                    like a like a
                    Lava lamp.
                    [All Spencer's Gift's glow and thrift store chic.]

And you will not be warmed by it,
          but who is this you?
          Because if there is no I,
          there can be no we,
and I am not willing to surrender to that.

          [to no us-ness, to you not being
          one sole being on the other end
          of this this-ness, but only part
          of some conglomerate, corporate
          entity called nothing-we-can-comprehend.
          I am unwilling;
          I am a dissenter.
          I am.]

Which renders the corporation something
          more than they,
          which is almost always paralytic or amoral,
          certainly unsympathetic and unsympathizable,
          something      approaching      evil.

Just you      . And me. Please.

First, I claim this I, that only has this
          language(s), technology(s),      space,
                    time, sex,      gender, religion
                              or lack thereof,
                              sensibility,      sense,
                                        a body, a body in time,
                                                  in sex, in faith and betrayal
                                                            and reason and reasoning:

out of this great unsynthesized manifold,
          all penetration and penetrating.
          [Like a seed head blown apart,
          all pollination and flowering
          and dried and falling away
          and lifting and airborne and borne
          away from each other to land
          and germinate and survive
          in the meagerness of conditions,
          the little dying, the little survivals.]

An image, Williams said; an idea, said Stevens,
          ancestors we think of: lion's teeth leaves, prickly
          and persevering, no things but in ideas, really?

So much depends upon this small boy
          who doesn't look like any small boy you know;
He is my small boy— the I of this this-ness
          with small bones and wide dark eyes,
          hair as straight and black as spun obsidian.
So much depends upon a child like him, this one I love,
          sitting in calf high grass, so new-green, the edges
          blaze white, and the dandelions all sprung over night,
          one night in this boy's newborn awareness,
          as new as any child's, burying his face in the common
          and undervalued florets, eyes blazing with YELLOW!!
          Mind cracking—evervwhere this cracking—a portal
          into a new way of being, the dancing around him,
          the buzz of new insects, the spray of misting winds;

it is all so amazing, this world of wonder.

Copyright © 2014 Laura McCullough All rights reserved
from Rigger Death & Hoist Another
Black Lawrence Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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