the marching band
There is a marching band sound to this band — and a very clear voice — simple rhythm — lyrics I can hear — simple true poetry — the love songs of a fifteen year old girl in the 1960s, writing her thoughts into a purple spiral bound notebook while the record plays Pet Sounds — How did this thing called Time ever come to pass?
My mind is broken — like my language. I don’t know what time it is. Where in our galactic circuit do we now stand? 10,000 civilizations — 10,000 civilizations out there — are they liberals like us — do they love and hunger for love — do they love their children — believe in free markets? how many eyes do they have and how many arms? Do they war against each other with rayguns and hovercars? Hey Buck Rogers, Hey Flash Gordon, There’s a Bomb in the Air, Ticking.
How do I know that the world didn’t end in 1962 and I’m just the mind-dream of an alternate universe hovering? As I sit here trapped in this fleshbody, mostly forgetting about it, except for the aching in my right foot, I know I could be anywhere anyone — my soul (my mind) my soul (my mind) floats away from this as easily as from anything else – trading miseries, let’s call it.
Why sing of miseries? Sing of all the beautiful things you’ve seen this past year — the Washington Monument out your dining room window — the Empire State Building from your roof — a dreadlocked guitarist in Washington Square Park — a ruffled white miniskirt lifted up by the wind — driving a rented car across the Golden Gate Bridge — your face — the face that I didn’t know sixteen months ago — the face I’ve come to love — the face that loves me back — these visions — did I imagine them? Did I dream them? Did I dream myseslf holding you in my bed in Arlington, Virginia, in Chevy Chase, in Philadelphia and Rochester and Monterey and New York City and New Haven?
This love affair — tinged by something — the first gray hair in my twenty-something head that I can’t yet see — I lie here on my maroon bed in my peach room in the City that Never Sleeps not sleeping. And I don’t think about the past or all that history of jazz — I look to the future — that time which is as of yet unknown — still plastic and pliable — mine to make — mine to hold — unknown — new frontiers — where maybe I’ll find strengths I never knew I had —
There will be other things — sickness — mourning — grief — and the sleepdeath at the end — maybe I’ll miss it — don’t want to miss it — fear of death is real but is also a dodge, a step out of the way — clearly a symbol / synechdoce, standing in for something else — I’m standing on my head, juggling cats for your amusement, the 1st cat’s name is Dedication, the 2nd cat’s name is Truth, and the 3rd cat’s name is Dinah —
Is this poetry? Philosophy? Research. No – no – like Bill Shakespeare, I lack Latin and have less Greek — and yet, here in Fourth Rome, New Babylon, Not Sleeping, I write, staring backward at the long generations of Western History, watching as we all rose together from fear and darkness and slavery to this brave new world of freedom, love, and light — we must care for each other — we must care for ourselves. we must care for each other. Is there irony here? Maybe — irony of false thought. Irony of procrastination — would it be enough for me? To be a scribe? To be a poet? A minstrel dancing? The bullockbefriending bard? Oh, the sentences I’d write — crossing the streets and catching the eye of a strange girl who does not know me and I don’t know her — not thinking about the strange view that might/must be seen from behind her face if I could be her for a moment — and see myself, ugly but intense, as others see me — matted hair — eyes dancing behind squared-off spectacles — already becoming an affectation in this brand new 21st century — give me plastic lenses — the tiredness of morning and touching my finger to my eyeball — I cannot stand it some mornings — and yet — lighter on my face all day — I can feel the lightness. Shat my brains out this morning. Almosts missed my interview.
I got my god and I got my gun and I got my bitterness too — up and back and up and back the northeasts corridor from Washington to the City of Brotherly Love and I’m ok if you’re ok and the night is long in the City that Never Sleeps and I’m not sleeping and I hear your voice on the telephone and it makes me smile and it makes me warm and I am coming to come see you on a train and take you in my arms and spin you round like ring-around-the-really-really-rosey dance, in and out, up now down, left right, left right, watching screens of screens glowing, humming, brightlight lightbright etch-a-sketch my darling in the Twenty First Century in the Twenty First Century I’ll see you in the Twenty First Century I’ll meet you — and can wax quixotic and I can count to ten and skate across the lake in icy winter with the ducks trapped below swimming swimming swimming in Central Park in winter – spring is coming, baby, spring is coming, baby — hey there, snowflake, hey there, hey there, hey there, I got rhythm and I got soul and dance with me tonight, dance with me in Paris and dance with me in Spain — televised revolutions burst out on the screen — the books —