Holy, Holy in the Magnolia Tree
I cannot act with prudence, or temperance,
Guileless innocence, forgetting the incidents
the compounding fractures of chapters growing backwards
cheek staining battleground pounds, the whitest noise
The whitest noise,
Illinois was the leap, so steep and such a snowy night
I saw three angels on the roof, they asked in earnest
WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM US?
WE CAN ONLY DO SO MUCH.
The snow was such a soft touch when I climbed the roof and flew
Next thing I knew, next thing I knew
There were two in blue, one on each arm,
That collar was stiff and warm
The lights were like crazy Thracian birds,
They whirred in my head, concussed
chattering how snow was too soft for the higher purpose
I failed at this ultimate act, the two in blue an accessory after the fact
I was so sad I couldn’t care less that Chicago was so damn pretty
That night. I thought of, was thinking of, the flashes of laps and
Pabst and old man laughs and currency for
love by commitees, they would come by committee.
by committees they came, in prides and
congregations they came, in murders they came,
in colonies, cultures, clouds,
braces and broods and bevies and beds
convocations, catches, skeins,
shoals, swarms, smacks and salts
feral parliament of manged dogs
into Florida house in the night
light fades, It faded, I was called for,
I floated in, above, and watched the swelling scene unfold
AND THERE I WAS! there I am
REALLY TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM.
Or two. Or five. Stay alive, Stay alive. Just stay alive
Stay alive little one, or grow some teeth.
Sink beneath the flash and pomp.
Feel cool Saint Petersburg breeze,
the smell of the VW bus
the thrill of the sprinkler on July days
Count the pennies, but slowly, slowly.
Holy, holy in the poetry
Holy Holy in the wait
Holy Holy in Magnolia Tree
Holy Holy operate
this machine with caution, it’s a clever
cunning beast, It can float and flee
Weep and growl, squeal with glee, roar with love,
be silent as the grave, never caving, carving life from
tree husks with success, feeling in excess, but less apt
to be trapped than any other little girl.
Handle with care, she said.
Kid gloves and kid fears
I still see the grass wave in wind like you.
I can taste the difference
between a peach on Tuesday and a peach on Sunday.
I know what’s up.
And the house of my childhood was made of glass,
each several window blown sugar,
each strand of sugar spider webs,
each web the finest dew line,
each dew line the stuff of Abbadonian dreams
I want to fly this place, but I can’t.
I’ve got beautiful babies coming to some class somewhere
To talk of witch trials or thundercats,
-which flavor of blow pop is superior
which Roman was right in killing Caesar
I want to fly this place but I can’t
I’ve got shit to do and a flock of friends
We head into battle with thin air for weapons
Doing some other sort of flight fight
And shaving peach fuzz off of Salem
Going into the woods with Tituba
Finding a snake and naming it McCarthy
And filling the theatres with men
Who could’ve sold our skin in gross, but wouldn’t dare.
I want to fly this place but I can’t,
so I’ll keep
donning the shoes and
Running I guess.
laughing when inappropriate.
And being absolute.
Sometimes it’s breath I hold
Other things include music, pans, mail and soap
A skull in a graveyard
Or the bird that is made of glass
(I have to be very careful, you see)
And I don’t really understand where it ALL comes from- this courage
Some birth I guess – some haircut brainwash toothbrush
Some late night fit of artistic dune painting or
Maybe a ring around the posy, rosy, red, or finger
Maybe it’s the wail of fire trucks
the man I speak Hindi to, the sun through the trees
Perhaps the feel of my Step father’s hand as I rub out the pins and needles-
Those plague him after the surgeries.
Maybe it’s so simple that it won’t be named in any
chump piece of a poem-
Maybe it’s so secretive, we don’t have a file on it
Maybe this bravery is some DNA
floating in some thigh bone
deep in the center of me with all the women who came before-
The ones who fought the war and took back
The kingdom God gave us as a safehouse,
this lockdown, this red hold, inviolable,
this invulnerable fortress we were divinely bestowed
to provide the nectarous beating home
for our tender beloved babies to grow
Stay alive was the mantra,
stay alive,stay alive,
sweet girls just stay alive.
and count the pennies slow, slow.
Holy, holy in the Magnolia Tree.