Oct 29, 2015

The Break Cafe, October 29th, 2015

There are a handful
of things I know
for certain right now:

I have good friends
with small but not unpowerful jobs.
Sean didn’t charge me for this tea.

I know anxiety
and how it can swipe the whole jigsaw puzzle
to the floor in a second.

I know right now
I’m breathing deep and serenely as
Billie Holiday lyrics pour
gently from the teapot stereo
over the leaves of a saxophone.

I don’t know where I’ll be
next lifetime, though I have
a feeling some nothing of me
outlasts this body, the same
nothing of me that outlasts this mug
of tea once it’s empty.
The same me that limps down the street
wearing all of my clothes
and a few garbage bags
waving sharpied cardboard at cars
for the hope of chicken bones in my beard
in the coming days.
The same me that is the body
of a taxi cab honking hurry hooray
for today get the hell out of my way.

There was a tremendous mural
under the bridge over the Yellowstone
in Livingston. It was dated
September 11th, 2001
and prophesied the end of all war.
There were childish drawings of buildings
and soldiers burning, angels
flying down from heaven
to catch the falling, to lift up
the wounded and the screaming and
the dead with X's on their eyes
There was a huge redwhiteandblue tag for
next to it.
I am letting the cool waters of the Yellowstone
bring peace to us all.
In that place, in that month
it wasn’t a mighty river.
It was low and slow and gentle.
Some places it was just
a wide trickle over rocks
and I crossed the river
back and forth in these places,
my feet hardly getting wet.

I’m sorry to say
this is how peace comes.
It doesn’t come blaring from the intersection
green light go, wait your turn,
halt, halt, stop everything
everyone stop.
I mean
it does, but not everyone recognizes
it all the time.
And even when it does
crashing descend upon you
it’s unsettling,
quiet unsettling
how you never noticed
it’s always been there for you.
It’s always been there in you.
You’ve always not been there
in it
and now
the river smashes your dixie cup,
crumples your tea pot
you are rolling over and
down against the rocks bashed
banged brow, face mashed
legs and arms twirling like a mangled
piece of farm equipment
I’d be more specific but I can’t
you’re so old and rusty misshapen
I can’t even identify you.

Not to worry.
When the Spring floods subside
that old metal is just
a former shell of something.

It’s being buried solowly in the bank
by moss and lichen and mud.
That’s not you anymore.

Gather you legs.
Meet me by the side
of the Yellowstone in September,
the side closer to the peaks
and let’s weep before that picture
of our brothers and sisters dying for nothing.
Let’s scream our madnesses silently
into the gentle flow of water, for this
is how peace comes to us truly—
in slow sips of breath,
one Sinatra song at a time,
the warm tears on our face,
the mug lifted,
the ring of tea
left on the table
slowly evaporating.

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