I’m still thinking about the end of civilization. Yesterday I was all for it. Today, I still am, but I need to dissect this a little more. Okay, I started to dissect it some more and then made the huge mistake of going upstairs to grab a load of laundry and got sucked into a time suckhole of tedium. Daypoeming is not my thing.
I no longer want to dissect civilization. It’s not my poem today. It tried to be, and I had to erase it. Thinking about civilization and how to extend ours and make it kinder, more loving, and less greedy really makes my brain hurt. What I really mean, when I say I’m done with it, is that I’m done with all the shitty parts, the greed and waste and death and bullshit, and I’d like to keep all the beautiful parts, the conversation and the art and kindnesses, yes, keep only those.
I’m no deep ecology philosopher, though. Boy, is it ever hard to keep my but in this chair today, though. I just wasted like, ten minutes messing around on iTunes, and then wandered into the kitchen to get chocolate. This evening will be much easier if I get this done now, during naptime, than if I wait for tonight, though. The problem is, I just haven’t been too inspired. Here the semi-poemy things are: 1) A big bird I don’t know and could look up and then imagine things it thinks, 2) a panhandler at the grocery store to whom the girls and I gave a dollar, 3) my two year-old hiding in the cupboard where I keep the pots and pans and jumping out to “scare me” every two minutes while I was doing the dishes this morning.
What to pick? Do you give street kids money?I know a lot of people who say not to do that. That it doesn’t really help. I have to though. For a long time I did it just in case it was the one time the kid decided to use the change to make a phone call to his or her mom. It is naive, I’ve been told. Whatever. That’s who I am. But now, I’m thinking about that, and I haven’t seen a working pay phone in a really long time. This seems like a public safety issue. How to people without access to phones call for help? Don’t we have an obligation, as a society, to make sure people can call for help if they need it? No one is going to let these kids borrow a cell phone.
Is there a way I can weave all three poem-y moments into one poem? It probably won’t be any good, but I am going to try.
A Northern Goshawk
A Northern Goshawk on a golden, arching perch over a parking lot, a funny place for a hawk.
He has a wideflung family, accipiter gentilius, but is known for the fiercest defense of the branch. Hawk’s eye is a particular color, the yellow of utter intent, and he dirks the daylights out of the scavenger gulls to maintain his ground in the sky.
From fifty feet up he can see the odometers on the cars in the parking lot, registering the glowing ciphers as “not food” before refocusing for rodents. Paying no mind to the scene, just the moving parts, so he doesn’t see the young man and his duffel, or the families of passersby by who look at him and see a human gull and glance away fast.
No, the hawk doesn’t see that it’s the littlest of them, blonde plumed, and still possible prey, but attached, small hand to her mother’s and so an unlikely conquest, who looks on with recognition. It stops her, their meeting of eyes, and it feels like the dark inside of the cupboard.
Now, sensing a lesson, her mother brings them over. Come. Don’t be afraid. Let us give him some small help.
No, the hawk doesn’t see the boy rise and say thank you ma’am thank you miss, or see him walk on stiff legs toward the restaurant slash aerie,
and to buy something off the dollar menu, and to look around for a phone.
Well, I see it. I guess because I saw it. That was only barely the three poemish moments in the day. The cupboard one fits in my mind, but there’s more to it that I can’t figure out, something about being afraid when you recognize what “alone” means, I don’t know. This is done, and it’s afternoon, which means I can go to bed early and I win. Happy Tuesday, poem friends. ps, goshawk is pronounced “goss hawk”, not “gosh awk.”