Enter Home Planet News Poetry of Issue #6                        Page 22
                                   
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POEM FOR BETTE

Coltrane plays on the radio.
You sashay around in your
signature bathrobe.

I don’t drink red wine
into oblivion.
You cook asparagus
on the ancient stove.

Though nothing is perfect,
I am actually content.

As if I had to find myself
before I found others.

As if I had to travel to the mountain
and then come back
to the valley
again.

As if the clichés were true,
but with a very odd twist to them;
either the hero and heroine find each other,
only they are both men,

or else the dragon is slain
by journeying to his cave
in the Lower East Side of New York City
and so it is they find their edge.

As if after a long and winding road
I discover you are
my sun and my moon
and my everything.

Not that I tell you that
all that much.

Not that you would know it
when we go shopping
the way I moan
and kvetch.

After dinner,
we walk around the block.

The moon rises in the sky,
yellow and dappled.

“It looks like a cashew,
the way it hangs in the sky,”
you suddenly tell me,
apropos of nothing
-- and everything.

“Yes, yes,
it does,” I say.

In between yesterday’s tangle
with housework and tomorrow’s
scramble for a living,
we behold it together.

I wouldn’t have
noticed it.

I reach out
to hold your hand --.
as if all those wild,
crazy promises

sworn in delight,
in the heat of a night,
penis inside you,
hand on your breast,

I actually meant.

  Chris Butters __

ONCE

She said she was
from Minneapolis
and was a Catholic.

I said I was
an atheist
from New Jersey.

Funny, we agreed,
how opposites attract,
yet couples also need
the similarities.

And how tough it is
to meet someone,

living in the city,
working for a living,
surviving on scraps
of friendship,

and then suddenly
you turn a corner
and walls between people
fall away.

At the movie
we laughed and laughed.

But where do we
come from,
I wonder,
really?

I mean, not Minneapolis
or New Jersey,
but where
do we REALLY
come from?

In bed with her now,
lying side by side,
having made
rusty love –

legs intertwined,
the shape of our kisses,
fit of our heartbeats,
wings of our hips --

I see how
we were
one body once,
before being split,

like the continents
of Africa
and South America.


  Chris Butters__
ANOTHER DAY IN COURT

The court clerk, working
on a crossword puzzle,
concealed behind the cover
of the law book he pretends
to be reading:

all that separates him
from a pension

is ten more years.

The court reporter
reading back the defendant’s answer,
retrieved from typing
all morning
on his stenograph machine:

all that separates him
from writing
the Great American Novel

is working for a living.

The judge, sitting
at his bench, pondering
the testimony of the detective
about the gun in question:

all that separates him
from Supreme Court

is raising $50,000
for the Democratic Party.

The defendant, sitting
next to his lawyer, staring up
at a smudge
on the white courtroom ceiling;

all that separates him
from freedom

is astronomy.


  Chris Butters__
1973

He talks Vietnam.
He calls us commie-hippy-faggots,
drives off in his pickup truck
with the bumpersticker that says

AMERICA LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT

But that is not it, I think
as the truck drives away,
leaving us to the leaves,

the town beyond,
the ribbon of factories and houses,
the hellow sun shining overhead.

That’s not it, I softly think,
that’s not it at all.

Not AMERICA – LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT

AMERICA -- LOVE IT OR CHANGE IT

Love the dumping ground
this country has become
for every two-bit fatcat
racist and sexist,

behind whom stand
the banks and corporations,

the usual
bonechomping,
bloodsucking
forceds for profit,

or struggle to change it –

struggle to change it
with the rest
of the damaged, uprooted
and dispossessed.


  Chris Butters__