Table of |
When kids speak of “’tude,”
they mean sassy or rude,
some amplitude of raw feeling
projected by some gal or dude.
They probably don’t mean
“solitude,” being cast away,
all alone, on one’s own,
isolated from the human way.
Solitude’s a plenitude
of isolation, a condition
that might lead to beatitude,
the whole “Beat” thing,
as Jack said. A lonely dude,
he hit the sauce, maybe
because he lacked certitude
about the benefits of solitude.
Like the Dharma bum
he morphed into, watchman
on a fire tower, its altitude
conditioning him to rectitude,
he shrank youthful magnitude
to something the size of haiku,
went off the road, lived in the zoo
of a mind bent not from Quaaludes
but from booze. Though he boarded
with Mamere, he could feel solitary,
as if she weren’t there, while he
processed memories he’d hoarded.
Of all the Beats, Jack maybe most
needed the solace of solitude,
but acting irresolute was a bad ad
for his boozy fate, no beatitude.
“Let’s gather by the piano, people,”
“Time for milk, people,”
“People, settle down for naptime,”
Miss Hayes told us kindergartners.
We were 4 or 5, away from Mommy
For the first time, on the cork floor
Of the sunny room on the south end
Of the school, where Miss Hayes
Struggled to stay queen bee as she
Thickened into her seventies and depended
more than ever on her flask of gin.
“People,” which she had learned
From a mentor at Oswego and carried
With her south to Westchester County,
Was what she called us collectively
Though individually she knew our names:
Kathy and Jimmy and Sue and Tommy,
Mostly Protestants, a few Catholics,
And a Jew or two, and all white,
All destined to grow into older people,
Even other people, as we married
And took our husbands’ names
Or earned titles like “professor,”
“the reverend,” or “CEO.” Some
Moved away, some stayed in town,
Some barely stayed in touch.
But we all remember long-dead
Miss Hayes calling, cooing, cajoling
Us: “People, it’s time. People, it’s time.”
Executive Order 9066
(World War II)|
Yes, even the great FDR
had his flaws, signing
the order to intern
120,000 Japanese Americans
and Japanese non-citizens.
Today those in power would
dust off that order
for their New American
Order, white Christians to the head
of every line, minorities suspect.
Michi, Kenji, Tomoko –
I bow my head in shame
that such cruelty to you
and your people is now
applicable to a new
group of “enemies,”
as though confinement
is just another tool
of government, like
The U.S.A. has gone
a long way since FDR
and teeters on the brink
of what abominations,
a pariah among nations?
Michi, Kenji, Tomoko –
we are all
in the same