Tea and Symphony
Give these poems a Third Symphony sound, Shostakovich.
I want a shrill whistle to shriek over a trestle
after the ending in each line with cargo of heavenly hooks
so majestic they’ll provide seduction for our Magic Kingdom family.
Call more folks to come right down, from Pakistan or India,
some city I’ve never seen, say Bombay, where the race for progeny
and feast of gluttony no less than the race for arms
has put us on the down-slide track Inside the seventh ring of an Inferno.
Shostakovich, here too, in the west, human traffic bleeds
all over dreams we started at tea parties where we couldn’t guess
if nobody talks about limitations, sticks with banalities of short hauls,
pleasantries that connect lives envisioning no petroleum spills
blasting three hundred souls to a premature Eternity when unregulated
trains without night watchmen or brakes slam Into pubs after midnight.
Expose the hushed truths about battered women, sexually transmitted disease,
the psyche twisted by promiscuity, complicity in the talk talk arms race,
nuclear testing, dumping, stockpiling. Wait! That’s not even the short list.
Share first hand stories of abortions, rape, incest, insanity, alcoholism,
indigenous people displaced, molested in their schools, and growing old,
turned away at the thrift store! Mark drummed crescendos, clashing cymbals
to make a way to fix our world more energetic, and put a smile in here
because we have to laugh, want to think we’re rail hopping, tramp style,
Boxcar Berthas shrieking “It just ain’t good enough.” Give us success
stories and dining cars, food stops, alternatives to beheadings, martial
evacuations, drone-driven air bombs and millions of refugees
helter-skelter starving, freezing, filthy without water. Give us
our daily destinations to rejoice in what the Maker’s made
to avert stupid resentments—Shostakovich!—a better understanding
of the limits, generally, a better map before another train-full
gets that trapped feeling. Let us hear the harrowing sounds of being stuck
in the chunnel under the English Channel and wake up! Play asphyxiation
for our failure to recognize the sounds of false teas, illusionary teas,
mad tea parties forbidding travel to us, as indulgence for the rich. We must go
if only in our heads! Bring back soft love! Hard love like hard energy’s not
all that pays. Bring the light clamoring lest we let misspent time bring us in cahoots
with terrorists out to finish us off with a dull thud. Help us orchestrate
the truth in one woman’s Om to see her prayer to Mother Earth Mary Maimonides
is just another of the unnamed names of Hashem–What a girl! I’m thinking,
come down here, Girl, come look at us ride away on a bicycle
in the middle of a stronger challenge braced for such a situation, hoping
all the others who want to join may bring along the bison bone soup
and Turkey Tail Mushroom Tea to fight the cancer, shouting, “Freedom!
Freedom from catastrophe!” as if the only breath we had left
after all-night arctic dancing that has steamed the lot of us, kettlelike,
might kick off a noisy protest against this learned, deliberate darkness.