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
[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.
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,
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 crackingevervwhere this crackinga 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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