Give Me The Poem That Can Remake The World

Bruce Owens

I can almost think of it:
butterflies in the space of my mind,
gold and blue spots of fur.
Then something simpler:
the way a tall building structures light in windows,
how, under the bridges of the modern world
wrangled men, women
and children wrap around
withered bottles of opiate flowers flown forever as flags of nations
over their bodies turn stone or wheat
has left their eyes to starve in the night.
I think I am one of the lucky ones
here on the breath of an empire.
Rationing my guilt, I blush in the mirror.
Today we bomb an entire village while I eat Kentucky fried
and enter the cool white melon where black seeds shine with their own music.
At the other end of it the television in digital image:
a father cradles his small daughter, the women wail
over the stretched body of a young man,
one eye slightly open
still trying to catch light.
I can count my selves in all of this with tyrants
children, toys and guns, drive by shootings
and grocery lists from church, kings and bosses
of the midnight dump heaps behind the factory prisons.
I look out across the long night of freeway lights glare
of something beyond fright, beyond wonder.
An ideology of detached sensations creeps up on the carpet
in the soft living room with the fireplace and mantle.
We bomb another village, another town. An entire city
falls through autumn like fire in a leaf. The skeletal ash
drifts along the edges of an oath sworn as vengeance.
I have no place to put myself.
No bell jar safe like Plath.
No vision like Baldwin.
I feel cold like no one knows cold.
Fear like no one knows fear.
Time inside my head like no one
knows time inside their head.
Lunar landscapes pock the inner city.
A broken bottle rips the belly
of the empire engulfing simple cries.
Where are you
Walt Whitman with your burly eyebrows
arched over the invisible word America?
Where are you
Lorca in your white shirt open like a field
under moonlight stained with blood?
Where are you
Stroud with dark bees swarming your tongue?
I need you my friends.
I ask company from those
who have fallen asleep under
the sinister shadows
of the false tree.
I summon you old crows, wind beat on the wing.
Give me the poem that will remake the world.
We bomb another village, another town, another city,
and all the eyes of the world crowd into one mirror,
and stare back at me.

© 2001Bruce Owens

It's About Time Writers Reading Series
SEPTEMBER 11,  2001
A journal
on the writer's role
in society

edited by
esther altshul helfgott

Writers mentioned in text

Sylvia Plath

James Baldwin

Walt Whitman

Joseph Stroud

Bruce Owens
lives in Soquel, California. His work    appears in the Robinson Jeffers Newsletter (No. 93 & 94, Winter & Spring) in tribute to friend, and fellow poet WilliamEverson.
He lectures on
the nature of the creative process, and   conducts poetry workshops,
mainly with young adults, especially those struggling with  addictions or who have come from abusive households, using poetry as an instrument of self discovery and as an entry into the world around us.
Bruce's collection of poems Eddies in the Rush (1998; ISBN
0-971256-0-0 ) was endorsed by C.C. Bailey and poet
William Stafford