Against a palindromic background, tourist-words line-up between the tall and the small, float between the bombers and the bombed, and celebrate the resourcefulness of raccoons.

YEAR: 2004


In April 1967
No trace of life anywhere.
Perhaps no one was really looking.
The signs were never that promising, really.

The distances were dinosaurian
the foul-smelling swamps of outer space,
were no place for children.
No matter:
under the stars, everything seems pretty much equal.

Molecule by molecule,
some search
others dig
the atomy sludge
just to the north-west of Ho Chi Minh City
the Cu Chi tunnels
long black holes
enough to bring out the stubbornness in any reasonable person
all of which is
later replaced by well meaning tourists
leaving just enough protons
to populate the greenless fields
of big supernovae or little jungles
where our mortal enemies
lie in wait
doing chores, giving birth, cleaning guns.

In April 1967
or April 7691
they grow up
in the house and grounds of our local universe
wanting to be astronomers
(of all things)

It’s understandable
if you think about it.
and it’s easy to see how they might need to forget
that old, “from-time-out-of-mind” stuff.

But we have a problem here.

If they’re going to be astronomers,
then who, exactly, is going to assume the responsibility
of actively despising
those fucking sadists
who dropped bombs on helpless villages from 10,000 feet?
Those fucking sick sadists and their sick fucking probably church-going
they need to know that we know what utterly cruel assholes they are
and that we don’t accept those fucking weasel word justifications they
extract from their fucking psychotic ancient holy texts.

This is an important job.
It’s our job now.

The next time you see one of those “yeah we need to bomb their
villages to save our civilization” types
walking down the street with a bible tucked jauntily under their arm
tell them to shove it up their hypocritical ass.

Well, it’s half-past ten, now.
I’m going to read the “Science News” for awhile.
There are lots of interesting articles.

One describes how something, somewhere
might be sending signals our way.
Just wanting to let us know they’re there.
Those signals behave like little threads, weaving together
a protective canopy
under which we lay in wait
as scared as any naked secret
in critical but stable condition
quietly adapting to new surroundings.

Oh, it’s all quite harmless, really.

And if I am spared, I won’t gloat.
Instead, I will talk long, thoughtful walks
through the glistening corridors of our great cities
content to just get the lay of the land
noting, with a certain satisfaction
the raccoons and falcons
who have carved out a little space for themselves in the downtown core.
It’s nice to see them finally getting involved
In our system of profit and loss, debit and credit
jungle and no-jungle, proton and no-proton,
tunnel and no-tunnel, black hole and no-black hole,
gun and no-gun, interstellar gas and no interstellar gas,
bombs and no-bombs, chores and no-chores
signal and no-signal, raccoon or no-raccoon
holy texts or no-holy texts, tourists or no-tourists
local universe or no-local universe, protective canopy or no-protective canopy,