The Revolution Is..., Lying on the Grass in Central Park with Mary Alice Under Military Planes Headed to Vietnam
THE REVOLUTION IS...
That you showed up without an army, without
concrete overtones; you stood here, one body
under girth of girders, suspended
between cities, held a cheese sandwich
and a thermos of Turkish coffee, held
my hand for only a moment and said,
"On that side, Brooklyn, hammered
out of how many postcards? On the other side,
Manhattan—what is the code of the skyline?"
You wore loafers and no ring of burrs around your throat
and this rapture we call "air" thickened and gave hands
to my words, vowels now weakened by years
of knowing you and a few brief moments
of unknowing. How will you ever find me again
in the minute space between your elbow
and my ribs, as once we were, soldered
by both blood and, like a cranky at the boardwalk puppet show,
an ever rolling sunset some call childhood?
The wind lifted the hem of your army
jacket, the wig you bought as disguise,
the same wind that pulled smoke from your mouth
like a magician's scarf, wind that peels song after song
across the bony pallets of our hungry mouths
and sharpens our hollow insides to a whistle.
Because I stood in one place and called out your name
to the evening's copper stained river, because
I held out two fists and said "pick one"
and you said "I have come to ask you
to bury me at the foot of the mountain.
I want to always look up and see
And I said, "That is not a revolution." Then you jumped.
LYING ON THE GRASS IN CENTRAL PARK WITH MARY ALICE UNDER MILITARY PLANES HEADED TO VIETNAM
Her blue raincoat parted like a splayed fish.
Fists tight in two stillborn punches.
The shadows of planes mark us
in flashes and sink below skin
with inky veins that trace our
vascular bodies with mock heat.
Mary Alice Fulton's protest poster
lays down with us, a bulky painted dove
bleeds off cardboard that curls
into its own funneled shadow.
All day we stood at a gate
we will never be allowed to cross.
Who are we to throw ourselves against
the silver flanks of battlements? Two
young women with fiery breasts
in pump-action shouts, bra-less
tee shirts slung low off our shoulders.
Afterwards, we cross the park, slip on wet leaves
that brighten the footbridge like bloody hand prints,
the maples blazed off their evidence until another season;
but we don't have another season, do we, Mary Alice—
this time next year we'll have shucked
our soldier shells; you'll be marching
towards a PhD and a shoreline of fellowships—
good for you. Neither you nor I will admit
we shouted through gates and believed
that laying down on grassy hills
could possibly rinse us from smoke bombs
and tear gas. This time, next year
even I won't admit
that we touched hands in the green dusk
the way two bodies are meant
to touch, turned heads to kiss
but between our lips only shadows of the enlisted spirits flew
from our drunken oasis into jungled nights of murder.