Unlike the Beatles the air doesn't rise
with Coleridge to great domes in the sky.
Motion's peculiar turn comes
with birth and the presence
of laughter background to circus
almost a dirge we heard when we
could -- our fingerprints rolled off
the old pot stove. It was Beaufort,
North Carolina. I was two
and I had burned my hand.
My mother sucked my fingers.
I remember the ice cream,
and at some shadow date in
Futureland I imagined
I grew magical scars. I loved
swirls and ovals forever.
I looked through a magnifying glass --.
taught myself to read war maps,
and at five, just a few years later,
I inked my fingers in red and printed
the white walls of our happiness.
Father came home to a howl.
He screamed a red lighting.
He beat my mother until her mouth
drooled blood and her pee
ran down her legs afraid
to move, to stand up, walk
to bathroom, or stop him
from smashing her, me, with
the buckles of his belt.
I refused sleep on his command.
My red fingerprints did all of that.
I made the stains.
"I was Eddie Wyman he's no good.
Chop him up for fire wood."
Two weeks later father left
for one year. Mother healed.
I did as well. I even slept
when tired. With him there
I was needed awake.
Some one had to protect her.
I was only five but I would do it.
The last day of the last hours
of his leave Father beat my mother
and shook me like a tree dying.
That day, Mother figured, he made
her pregnant with my sister.
She had lost one.
She feared another,
was soft with blue ribbon bruises --
it was miracle my sister lived.
Sister was born with a noose around her neck,
that umbilicus marched where cruelty had lapsed.
For nine months we waited for our child, Mother said.
"Daddy planted the seed, but I would
be her big man, her Daddy, and she
would be protected and I the sainted lamb."
Later I was scared when I heard the front door slam.
Father's buddy had picked him up early
and he didn't say good-bye. He wore military mask
and collar now; no drink Laddies, Ladies --
he sang while on duty.
Miraculous, Mother turned down the bed
patted my bottom, felt for the space
between my legs so I would giggle; I loved
when she fell forward. Her breasts dropped
out of night. My teddy bear fell too
as she months later brushed
against Boris Bear with my
sister held inside lush paradise.
I heard two hearts as she picked up my arms,
bare to the waist and danced while Daddy
was at sea in the war she said.
"I don't want him home.
I don't want him," she sang.
The lid to the future clapped with songs
on the radio. Morning came, and I assembled
my jig saw puzzle, pick-up sticks,
cards, picture puzzles. I created metallic cities
where U boats rode the Hudson trails lifting storms
through the Narrows when war was a simple
place mat that Generals spread across
kitchen tables marketing history
like a future games with outer space rules.
We always win. America wins.
The Polar Ice Cap will melt
and the sea will surge into
impossible storms and bare
rocks and marsh grow foul
as Hamlet dies on the News.
Mother and I might say, alone
years later, history and incest
came in like bulls in Spain
or the ride through the Gaul
with the Legions of Rome.
The end of the world is near.