01 October 2010

To All the Women I Knew in the 1970s


Perhaps if I had been the one
in his seventies, and not the century,
I might have had the arm-length to push
back the picture, and read properly
with the far-sight of age.  But no,
it was the century (now it’s passed
we can talk), just moved into that
doting age, when even dull grandchildren
seem springy and clever.  And we weren’t
so bad as our older brothers (when the century
was a still youthful sixty or so) who painted
swastikas on the Virgin Mary and left
really big college loans unpaid.  Okay,
we did kill a few rock stars, but not
MedgerJackMalcolmMartinBobby:
Not real people who could make us a future.
We wounded George Wallace, not so
bad. My point is that we never ever
mattered in our own minds, thought that
if we could do no good we couldn’t do
harm.  And that sloppy seventy-something
century humored us with thick hair and thin waists
and an agreeable sense of our own benignity.

Only now, right about now, when my photos from the time
actually hurt to look at, do I see with a full-armed focus
how you stood ready to make a world of sense,
connected with (which we don’t have now) centuries
before and after, a world of rooms you could
live in and prayers that actually rose to someone listening.

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