Here with Us, in Stardust

This poem was first written in August of 2009 at a workshop with Stuart Ross. I’ve been experimenting with it since then. It was inspired by John Ashbery’s ‘The River’ poem.


after John Ashbery’s ‘The River’

Petty human scoundrels, you are tossed and lost
among the boned cement joints of city streets and towers,
glass, the great shakes, sky-scraped

we are cracking what you build
against the amoebas

you’re not, you’re not
you are not here, above the trees,
with us

If every child stank with the sewage of your politic
of your governing bile
we could, we would
dance it out
don’t you see?

if this was where we could cascade
become hollow                            wait
sleep through stars, evade your hydrogen bombs
erode the expensive exlusivity of your segregated summits
debunk the protest marches with waterfalls and tsunamis

We are Not
not squeaking as you do.
The pathetic mannerisms—your daily existences
your left arms have hairs now lasered off
and your body art is the new left from right

the roads paved in eco-grain rather than black tar and cement
what would you rather have?
the orange trees are manufactured now
streams and shores gone black by oil

there under the wooden desk where the mold has started to grow
organic wind, organic kindness
you are not here
with us

can this planet reach beyond the person, find fillers from space?
the leaders of nations ejecting no nonsense recipes
for better behaviour and better living

this community, terra firma,
the place in which you grind, bind and break,
brake as you do                           eating yourself

Why aren’t you listening?
the wings of our Raven, Eagle, Falcon glide,
Here with us, soar

We too are moving to the rudder of daily news blasts
serene in sun, tossed and moon whipped in the brave songs
that humans sing, we understand where the nowhere is gone
the histories forgotten, only repeated,
We cannot be angry, cannot shudder.

Sonia Elizabeth Di Placido, 2010

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