Dallas Wiebe, p.3


Japanese anomalies line the spring garden.
Albanian inquiries surround the lily pond.
Cincinnati weeds choke out
   the ivy in the good earth.
That’s all hunky-peachy,
   you think,
Because you, swine heart and all,
   are a member of the gashouse crowd
   that lingers on the summer air.
Because you, first to grovel in the river,
   have fallen by the wayside
   and grown into a football stadium.
Because you, lacking all forbearance,
   have shuffled off to Buffalo
   in shoes stolen from the indigent.
I wonder about you, Nicodemus,
You who first flew over
   the rock dam
   in your wife’s heart.
I wonder about you, Jeremiah,
You who first diddled the locks
   on your sister’s Coupe de Ville.
I wonder about you, Tobias,
You who first splintered the trellis
   over your mother’s infamy.
God, are you guys repulsive.
All on the same page
   and all filled with Republican tap dancing.
Oh those rhythms you prod
   out of the gayety of harpoons
   stuck into the dying seas.
Oh those stompings of hammers
   and screwdrivers
   when the motors stop.
Oh those pickings of old corsets
   when the sun sets
   over the forks in restaurants.
Now that you mention it,
It’s entirely probable
   that mankind can revert to Olduvai Gorge
   and there take up a new trade.
It’s possible that out of Africa
   might mean we lost our way
   when our brains enlarged
   and we stood up to salute
   the stars and stripes forever.
It’s inevitable that
   we will realize
   that buried in us is us.
By golly, it’s got to be right
   that if we hunt long enough
   in the rubble of the African rift
   we’ll find that old secret that said,
“If you learn to speak,
   don’t forget the value of silence.”
Surely we’ll remember
   if we pick up enough bones that
“Just because language is useless
   doesn’t mean that there’s something
   wrong with it.”
Perhaps, as we blow away the dust
   off our ancestors
We’ll understand that
“Speech is something wrong
   with the breath.”