They tell me the feathery plumes I see
when little jets traverse my sky
are nothing at all to worry me—
a trick of Nature… something about vectors
or vortexes or some such thing—
that I’m now too old to understand.
But, I remember when I was thirteen—
a plane or jet would rumble by
and we’d all look up from stick-ball or bike-tag
(in the streets we played) into a cobalt-bluish sky
and not a whiff or puff of white plumes feathered
imaginations put on hold—
wondering at the ethereal present.
That momentary, present thing
is now a memory distilled.
The only thing concerned us then
was being blown to smithereens
by crazy Russians who had once been friends
(so our fathers said) when we fought the Nazis
or the “Japs” (that’s what they said!
But now you can’t say anything
unless it’s stamped “P.C.-Approved”!)
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Which kind of limits thinking through
much of anything that isn’t true
or false or in-between.
I know we hadn’t always such
imbroglios and bears to bear!
They tell me just to pay my dues,
keep my nose clean, vote,
and learn by rote
some simple rules to see me through:
Trust in God and the Pill-machine
(when feeling blue)
to keep disgusting bugs at bay;
pay my taxes with a smile
(because I’m good!), question not
some little snot
who wants to kill some enemies
over there before they’re here,
stealing everything we’ve got.
(But it seems his hand is in the slot-
machine and the game is fixed,
and I think I’m being politicked--
if I pause to think at all).
Better keep myself to myself.
I’m far too small to understand
what all the big and powerful
tell each other when the lights are low,
gushing that they know, they know.
And they’re laughing all the goddamn way
to their bank accounts in foreign lands
(probably some Switzerlands!)
while telling me to be content
with all the residue
of what was once a sky so blue
it hurt to ever think of losing.