the new optimism
black man in the white house — and I’m only twenty seven — “I’m carrying your suitcase outside of Alphabet City” — in someone else’s life — the poetry of others’ poems — the songs that others sing — where will we go when the going goes over, where will we stand when the earth falls away? Dance dance human, dance, dance revolutions around the rosy — all of the modern plagues, or that great big sucking sound at the bottom of your father’s 401(k) — or the broken bridges and broken roads across this Great Exceptional Nation — with a black man in the white house — and I’m only twenty seven — already this is the new normal — what was so strange about it? nothing, nothing so strange, not at all — I love everybody and everybody loves me — city of brotherly love with a knife sticking out of my side — trash in the streets but people singing, people dancing, blissed-out pill-poppers, hello, hello, goodbye, another year is coming, 2009, like 2008 before it, the World Depression Two (as my sister points out, they called World War One the Great War before the sequel came along) but everything will work out eventually, just love each other, buy a kid a toy, donate a meal, do handstands in the dark, take singing lessons, learn to play the flute, run, run back and forth down the block and then further, to the city limits, to the river, past the river, to the ocean, up to the mountains, and down to the mountains on the other side, rucksack on my back now, here I go, I am a wanderer now, the road is my destiny, the people I meet along the way my comfort, the rooms and the clearings, sleeping on the grass while the moon falls across the sky overhead — what’s around the next bend in the road, what cities are there still to see, where else will I be going before the end of days — taste the new optimism, enjoy every sandwich, and die with your loved ones around you — it will be hard for them but wonderful for you so wonderful for you and as you gather up the rucksack for the last final journey into dissolving foam the love in the room will rise up — everything transient about it will be fixed forever in the upper firmament with Artemis, Orion, and all the other old stories of heaven —
and then you’ll be gone — happy!