Friday, January 4, 2013

The Eleventh Dance of Something or Nothing: Pipe(r) Dreams








 
 


The Eleventh Dance of Something or Nothing: 
Pipe(r) Dreams
 

it's the eleventh day of something or maybe nothing 
can't say for certain
but it's awfully cold and dark, too cold
that's clear

what signs there were--tinsel and friendly church signs and so forth are all gone now
so maybe it really was nothing at all
after all

pipers? what pipers? Gaily? 
whatever, it's awfully cold and dark, too cold
and it's not like I got presents or presence
or anything

it's not like the world lit up with wonder and a new day of peace and brotherhood
fell from the empty sky or everything is fine now in Gaza
or anywhere else

it's not like you didn't see what you couldn't help but see and not understand
through that doorway nine years old obviously doomed 
to keep remembering

it's not like you didn't get that phone call a thousand miles from home at 3 A.M. or
you didn't lie through your teeth that one time, 
sorry, all those times,
sorry, all the time

it's not like the fact that the dog forgives you or at least looks at you with forgiving eyes
means that you are forgiven or that forgiveness is a category
in this particular universe

you were a child and you couldn't help it, so you stood there and you saw what you saw
(but thank the mysterious power you sometimes believe in
you couldn't comprehend)

you didn't have the data, the backup info necessary, 
what Blake would call the experience
to process such an unnameable thing with
your stupid innocent eyes

it's not like the bore at the table behind isn't droning on and on about his engineering school grades
here in the Thai place where the massaman is super hot
the way she liked it

when the two of you would argue about which was hotter and who was hottest
and she'd say how pretty Roong was 
then she'd drink your beer

and you looked because, well what else could you do? you were nine and the door was open
and you said "dad" but it wasn't him,
he was away,

piping gaily somewhere no doubt while strange things, epiphanies not glorious, but,
sad to say, not that unusual, went on
across the threshold
   
and, in the hallway, in your unprepared childlike way, you learned or tried to learn how to detach and
discover how to go on with the rest of life or
something like life 

it's the eleventh day of something or nothing but really who cares? 

even the churches are tired of noel
and it's not like you got any presents or presence
or anything from anyone

it's not like there's any good reason to keep up the exhausted charade this year, this eon, this ever
it's not like there's any pipers piping
or any epiphanies

you see things, that's what happens when you have eyes when you are in this world when you are nine
or when you are ninety or whenever,
you see things

you bring gifts but what does it matter? 
you move around to keep from feeling that it's all dead and empty,
you're not a king or a wise man and
there's no magic

you wonder where Roong is, she's your favorite waitress, she's pretty in her thai dress, and she knows you
but the new girl tells you that
she isn't here

because she's home with her new babies, twins born last week, C-section but they are all doing fine,
Roong is fine and she's home with twins
And Pete is fine too

well obviously Pete is fine 
he's behind the counter and the place is busy and he looks like a new dad
and then he comes over and he remembers your name
and wants to talk about his babies

and you tell him you broke up but you want to know everything about the twins and he wants to tell you
he was hoping they'd be born on 12/12/12 but 
he's happy anyway

a boy and a girl, that's the way to have twins, and the boy is named december
and the girl, of course, they named her 
beautiful

and it's so exciting for them and hallelujah for you too, Pete and Roong have babies, twins
december and beautiful and for now, Pete says
no more hiking or camping 
  
and you hurry and pay your bill and sort of skip out into the freezing night and start the car
and drive across the mall to the children's store
to buy those babies gifts

and you remember the note this afternoon from your sister in Austin because your oldest boy is visiting
"he is a good man, your son,
you did good sugar!!"

and of course, you think of your daughter, a year out of college, who is quitting her really good job
to work in an afterschool program in chicago
for next to nothing

and young nathan, the toast of brooklyn, who worked in south sudan far away from everything he knew
to try to do a little bit of good
the starfish thing

so you run back with the gift card and again you say congratulations Pete, tell Roong I said hi 
and use this for some clothes or something
for december and beautiful

jump back into the frozen world to pick up your youngest from her pizza joint job and what do you know
they still have lovely lit up Christmas wreaths hanging
outside the door

I look through the doorway, standing out in the cold cold, too cold, sidewalk
and see my beautiful daughter, grown up and
ready to go

me too, I'm ready to go home, drive through the frozen night and take the dog out for a little walk
and then look into her eyes and
see what's there

we see, that's what we do and we also pipe and sing and dance and drum and swim and leap and love
and remember to look at things
that make us cry

remember that the light in the darkness means that there really is darkness (it's not an illusion)
the world is cold, too too cold
so give out gloves

you will cry and your tears will freeze that's just what happens in this kind of a place
especially if your eyes are open
and you see

also, people are generous, beautiful in their thai dresses, remember Christmas, grow up to be good,
have children in the bleak midwinter, 
beautiful, december.

it's the eleventh day of something and maybe I'm on the threshold or maybe we all are but
nothing is obvious--forgiveness, miracle, doom, 
power, love, the past.



      




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