Notes on the 21st Century
It’s not the end of the world, though it could be, but the sun
came up today and I’ve had my morning coffee, while, at the same time,
Yellowstone stood rain-smothered, the Midwest roiled in the midst of a heat wave,
and millions across India and Bangladesh lost everything to raging floods and landslides.
I mean, every day beats me down as I suffer in this Texas heat—
though maybe not completely down. I find strength in my lover’s bear hug,
the steady voice of my niece, and lavender flowering in my backyard.
Everyday people are murdered by guns, by laws, by climate emergencies; as my brain struggles
to understand why the persistent focus is on hurting each other. We are shrinking
the spaces capable of being lived in, driving
ourselves to desperate acts of survival,
and, though I am looking for the bright side,
Mother Earth is eating her young,
and maybe the world ends here.
Not reality television, with sculpted
scenarios and tired trysts, but a prickly pear cactus
that stores drops of water in its pads,
astute at adapting in excessive climatic conditions.
I know how it feels to be a survivor in a desert,
the unending corporate climb,
the evaporating promise of upward mobility.
I wish life were as easy as it seems to be
for the virtual nobodies
turned on by a momager exploiting
her children for fame, manipulating
family and fans ratings.
I, too, make fruit out of nothing.
Reality is a sharp morsel
of moisture in a land
with sparse water.
Readings of a Seashore
Looking at Jessie Buckley’s red hair
you notice the sunset scattering the light.
Which is what happens when you look at Jessie Buckley’s hair.
Always the same thing: the stunning sunset,
the crest and break of ocean waves
like the musical notes of her brogue.
But looking into the eyes of Olivia Coleman
is like looking into the eyes of a falling tide.
Did you know that tides
are not higher or lower at night
as the moon’s pull is not stronger than the earth’s?
Nothing controls the tide or Olivia Coleman
except for depression.
At the seashore, you notice a raft
amongst the seashells on the tidal flat. You listen
to the rhythm of seamen raking
fish, crabs, mussels, and clams
from the brackish water. You settle.
In either case, soon you are in your brother’s apartment,
which is not important. What is important is to ignore
his raging, beer-sodden voice
reverberating in your ears;
the force of the ebb
pulling through your body.