In the dark times
will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing.
About the dark times.
— Bertolt Brecht
My mother wants me to know that she drank a bottle of water in the hotel room and that I might be charged for it. Drinking a bottle of water in a hotel room. A hotel being where we buy the right to stay still when no place will stay for us. On my way to the airport to pick up my mother, I carry a meal that may be light enough for after a flight. When the body is put into motion, it is not still. My mother’s body has been in motion for fourteen hours and what can we eat after that. My mother’s body never stops. My mother’s body doesn’t own anything, not even the motion it is put into.
Flesh, and cars, tar, dug holes beneath stone
a rude hierarchy of money, band saws cross out
music, feeling. Even speech, corrodes.
I came here
from where I sat boiling in my veins, cold fear
at the death of men, the death of learning, in
cold fear, at my own. Romantic vests of same death
blank at the corner, blank when they raise their fingers
Cross the hearts, in dark flesh staggered so marvelous
are their lies. So complete, their mastery, of these
stupid niggers. Loud spics kill each other, and will not
make the simple trip to Tiffany’s. Will not smash their stainless
heads, against the simpler effrontery of so callous a code as gain.
You are no brothers, dirty woogies, dying under dried rinds, in massa’s
droopy tuxedos. Cab Calloways of the soul, at the soul’s juncture, a
music, they think will save them from our eyes. In back of the terminal
where the circus will not go. At the backs of crowds, stooped and vulgar
breathing hate syllables, unintelligible rapes of all that linger in
our new world. Killed in white fedora hats, they stand so mute at what
whiter slaves did to my father. They muster silence. They pray at the
steps of abstract prisons, to be kings, when all is silence, when all
is stone. When even the stupid fruit of their loins is gold, or something
else they cannot eat.
In this time, the time of
the oil wars, there are many reasons that singers give for being so lost.
Often they are lost because of love. Sometimes they are lost because of
drugs. Sometimes they have lost their country and in their heart it feels
as if they have lost something big. And then sometimes they are lost
just because they are in Bakersfield. Really though they are lost
because in this time song holds loss. And this time is a time of loss.
The police know, as they move through the park yet one more time,
that they will win and a building will be built on the space. But right
now, the building is not there. All that is there are the police and
debris and the police deal with the debris. They push over bookshelves, open up boxes and look inside, tear into tents, awkwardly, the
poles springing. They are there only to see if any humans remain.
Tomorrow the bulldozers will push the debris into big piles and load it
into trucks. The police wear white helmets and short sleeves under
their kevlar vests.
How come we tryin to cooperate
with this “emergency”/this faker/phony
got you plannin
not to die and not to have a baby
on the weekends
not to do too much/
much less to start to die or start to have
on a Sunday
or on early Monday
got you/stiff and slow and hungry
on them lines the richboys laugh about/
real and prominent and smart