A Monologue


Get out and look up.
Today the sky is as thick as blueberry jam.
Get up.  Open the door. Put on your motorcycle helmet
ride into the canyon.
Go now.
Todays layered rocks will be gone tomorrow.

Ride into the canyon.  Ride further.
Ride to the lake at Sand Hollow
where gnats are like dust in the sun.
Sit on the rocks in the white eye of dawn.
Watch the swimmers
black against the sun
and the dark kayaks bobbing
like perfectly bad bananas.

You could listen for the bird sounds
and say to yourself flycatcher, phoebe, sparrow.
You cared once.
You would stand still just out of their reach
and grin at each trill each warble
each word that fell
like cotton from the cottonwoods.

Get out now. If the canyons feel too far
take a walk to the park
to the courthouse
the hardware store.
Get up and go out and look
at the bus stop on the corner of fourth and main
and the scooters wheezing by
and the house that was once a bookstore
and grackles in the grass
and the robin that isn’t afraid of humans.

Get off the couch
before only the couch remains.

Get up and take a walk.
Wear the shoes with soles so thin
even the subtle texture of grass
presses through to your feet.

Get out.
Get off your flat ass.
If you can’t care about the canyons today
if the streets and homes and birds
have lost their beauty
then go to the cemetery.

Go and read the strange names on the stones.
Say them silently to yourself —
names and dates
even the list of children and parents who remain
who must continue to wake up
and make marbles from mud pies.

Get out and be present
among the boxed and buried dead.
Relax. Breathe.
But go now.
Today’s dead will not be the same dead tomorrow.

You don’t have to smile.
You don’t have to cry or speak
or wonder how and why we bury the bodies
next to the park
where boys hurl dirt at girls
and the homeless sleep
under last night’s reported murders.

Don’t argue with me.
No more questions.
Only go and sit among the monuments
the silk flowers
flags and forget-me-nots.
Stay there and don’t come home
until you remember
you are not there yet.
You are not one of them.


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