Robert C. Knox
I am a husband, father, rabid backyard gardener, and blogger on nature, books, films and other subjects based on the premise that there's a garden metaphor for everything. Still utopian and idealistic after all these years, I cover the arts for the Boston Globe's 'South' regional section. "My poems have been published recently by The Poetry Superhighway, Semaphore Journal, Scarlet Leaf Review, These and other journals. "Suosso's Lane," my recently published novel about the Sacco-Vanzetti case, is available at www.Web-e-Books.com.
From 'The Grate America' Victory Tour
We traveled down to old LA
and met some killers on the way
dragging Lady Liberty to the dump
They all wore masks that looked like Trump
On either side the chains they bore
Drove women from the homes they saw
Their uniforms were dark and bright
That screamed of anguish in the night
The driver had an aspect fierce
with monkey eyes like Stephen Pierce
He drove the bus with special flair,
scattering bodies laid out with care
upon the pavement, moaning low
From homes uprooted: where to go?
The Men of ICE slashed high and low
Herding mothers back to Mexico
Bad'un growled and led the way
The ICE men roared and sang Ole!
Faces white and fingers itchy
Bellies broad, their tempers bitchy
The bus rolled down to city hall
Screaming cycles cast a pall
Wailing children offerings lay
Planting crosses by the way
Their prayers beseech the dying day
Spring Not Far Behind
(Sonnet in homage to Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind")
When first it rises heron-like
A jet plane's cruise in somber skies
I dream to see fresh fingers strike
A light in winter's haughty eyes
Invisible its forces are
Its colors gray and brown and white
Soaring free through western star
To bring sweet music to the night
And though we cannot scent it true
Nor tell the day when earth is free
Still senses deep as heaven's blue
Know titans turn both sky and sea
New seasons bloom on western gale
And living spirits may yet prevail
(Indebted to Shelley's great sonnet "Ozymandias")
The shattered crown full fathoms lies
Of antique form and freedom's fame
That boasted of one country free
And proud, days past, to wear the name
Of Liberty. A nation's gift,
A sign to all who venture there
That sacred vows may yet uplift
The hearts that suffer in despair.
In ages past its light proclaimed
A safer home. A soul's redoubt
Now ruined lies, its truth defamed,
Its broken arm, its flame put out.
In watery waste its honored form espy
Look on your works, ye careless, and decry.
Salute to a Winter
(named for Februus, the God of Purification)
Where did you go when we were not looking?
Did we leave you in the boarding area for the airplane to take us away
to some milder place where the headlines did not show us the ugly masks
donned by D-list actors bumbling through a remake of The Great Dictator?
Or in the florist shop choosing tropical blooms the size of small bedrooms
to hide us from the ugliness outside,
when goons with flag pins seized house cleaners to send them away from their children
and protect for our native countrymen the honor of cleaning toilets and picking fruit?
Or did we lose you in the movies where the white faces danced and laughed and saved our innocence, while the black ones collected trash, calculated the milliseconds to outer space, and ran the gauntlet of strangled ancestors to sit quietly among the enraged baboons of these American states?
O, fevered month, did you count your days while we layered on fleece and wool and nylon parka, shoveled snow from sudden blows, as if from alien gods who climbed over the ropes to deliver knockout punches with pillowed fists, tapping-out news from the doctor's office, the travel bureau, the floating coffins of the Aegean, the fall of ancient cities, not to mention what happened in Sweden?
Or let them go, these precious few, handled with care, leaves of a love letter delivered with candy and flowers in the walk-up to a Day of Hearts, a Day of Famous Faces on Greenbacks, of misplaced vernal arrivals, record temps, early sprouts, sudden heart-stopping skies in the middle of nowhere when the universe stared us down, black-faced with the white candles of ancient civilizations burning down their untellable truths?
Or did you, in the end, have nothing in particular to say?
Did you rub your days together, wiping your hands from the dirt of our burial, of short lives badly lived, failed promises, missed opportunities, always too little too late?
Did you, cherished month, wish us all a not terribly fond farewell, good riddance, barely a by-your-leave, to return bare-headed to the always cherished past and await the constraints of the taciturn, tongue-bitten future
for those who remain to see it.
© 2017 Robert C. Knox
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