Sometimes hope must wander backstage
to pine in an environment of darkness,
and cynical depression haunts the crevices of the heart
like daubed vasoline, like smudged ether.
It’s a haunted world. Black bodies lying in the street,
people walking by, eyes in their pockets, the cringe
and desperation of obliviousness tugs on the coattails
like some insidious call-out. I don’t know
where I fit in, what kinds of
“strategies” or lack of strategy I need to invoke
to sever neutrality from all our longings, to slice
the flaccid “a” from “apolitical.”
Greed is at the heart of so much of our conjectures,
it’s frightening and disgusting and all-too-familiar.
Meanwhile the coast batters the sand-wedge,
the sea rises up in all its veiled murmurings.
The heart cries out, ripped from the stuttering valves,
calling out for some reprieve, some healing confrontation,
knowing that underneath the melodrama lies
the real hurt, the melancholy and fatigue
that rushes through the body like a purple river
of pain, ghosts, history, and trauma.
That’s when the tears well up as a dancer
stands before the floodlights,
and in the glare of that dark brightness demands
from the sheer force of the body’s genius
some complicated survival of – not wonder,
but some form of anticipation
that we might bathe in once in awhile,
especially when any hope has been snuffed out
once again, and the country’s ghosts
have seized the neck and wrung out
some garbled message that makes no sense,
or makes so much sense that we become
overwhelmed by the pain and must then seek
the roots of some earlier expectation.