I don’t know why my mother gave me up at birth or how many cousins walk the streets of Lisbon or where I lost my first tooth I don’t know what became of the nickel or why the tooth fairy was so tight or who will wash the blood from the streets of Basra I don’t know how my Walkman eats batteries like Hostess Twinkies or why fungus grows underground or why the Somali child stares through starving eyes I don’t know why my dough rises, only to fall mockingly, or why forced to eat matzoh, the Jews didn’t go back to Egypt or why I poke my sore knee to insure it hurts
I don’t know my birthright name.
First Appeared in Children, Churches and Daddies, Vol. 141, October 2004.
Early this morning as I drove through the mist that clings to Portland in March like a child’s yellow slicker, I thought of you, home, asleep on our bed, my side tidy, no faint indentation of life, and I thought of the thousands who have died to date in Iraq, who never again will leave a faint indentation in any bed. It is far easier thinking of you, of regretting the miles between us at this moment, but knowing that I will shortly bridge those miles and we will tonight indent our bed, that two thousand miles is little more than an inconvenience, while many of them are no more that a dozen miles outside of countless towns; but the effect of that short distance is infinite and they can only indent the thawing earth beneath the granite stones.
For a while, I will be using Thursday’s posts to feature poems I previously had published. Today’s, Early Morning previously appeared in The Right to Depart, Plainview Press, (2008).
Strangely enough I can imagine Segasa Tokugawa standing on the parapet of Osaka Castle saying only a fool like Toyotomi either father or son would wage a war on Korea to expand his empire and stand here and say mission accomplished while so many at home mourned the loss of sons or innocence, or both but things will be better now for I have learned the lesson of history.