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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fast Day 185 December 18 2010 {Nothin' But Safety Net}

Nothin' But Safety Net

People do not bounce much,
like basketballs swish'd - nothing but safety net!
When people fall from the higher places
they lay upon the streets in agony,
a crumpled heap of bone and sinew,
and a spreading pool of redness,
praying the office of pain.
People are not balls.

People cannot be shut
like old volumes cased in leathery hides,
like books may be shut between two covers.
Still they haunt you with ghosts of loveliness
and attar of love until you do
that desperate bounce thing!
People are not books.

People cannot be foreclosed,
as if their eyes were vacant window casements.
Sarah Dawn’s dollhouse is not digitized,
measured and tracked unto a sheriff’s sale,
her unseen friends that live therein are not
corralled in boxcars of diaspora,
a network of despair!
People are not stone.

People cannot fly… yet!
They have forgotten the wind-like face of earth!
Why can’t Johnny fly?  the parents wail;
doddering about in sunless alleyways,
following threads left by blind teachers
oblivious of the heliotrope science!
Everyone has lost their wings!
People are not birds.



Ruth said...


Especially the final stanza, and that breathtaking line:

They have forgotten the wind-like face of earth!


We watched (and slept through part of) "Meet John Doe" last night, with Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. I hadn't seen it before. Have you? She is a newspaper reporter and makes up a story about a John Doe who is going to throw himself off a high building on Christmas Eve because of the miserable state of the country and world. This was 1941. This is what your poem reminded me of. He wouldn't have bounced, and he wouldn't have flown either.

Montag said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Montag said...

Wow. You are right. I did see the film, but not recently.
Actually the "wind-like face of the earth" reminds me of a film from the late 80's made by native Americans and whose name escapes me... it was a documentary and there was no dialogue, just sweeping panoramas.

Ruth said...

I've seen a few of those wordless documentaries lately and highly highly highly recommend them:


. . . and one with a few words narrated by Laurence Fishburn:

Ashes & Snow - this is a gorgeous meditation

Montag said...

I looked them up and they are very interesting.
Looking up Baraka gave me the name of my film: Koyannisqatsi, and reminded me it was not a native production; merely the title was.

Saw Babies and loved it. Must see the others.
Unfortunately, I live in the middle of a cinematic desert.

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