VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Glen Armstrong

Anti

Do it now. Attack the most beautiful cars, 

figuratively if not literally.

They are symbols of a dying culture

that consume the bones of extinct species.

Take the fight into the streets, into

the asphalt, into consideration’s

darkest fears. The years roll by without

consideration taking you in,

pressing you to their flower-print shirt,

removing the dirt from your face with spit

and thumb. Excuse the mess. Ignore the smell.

Throw gravel at those who would replace

authority while seeming to subvert it.

Throw it now. Put a little heat into it.

Anything a Little Freer Than We Are

Since today is Independence Day, 

we sit around the picnic table

taking turns naming anything

a little freer than we are:

Plants and birds and rocks.

Insane folk artists.

Abandoned clothing.

My cousin’s boyfriend 

rants about Iran,

how maybe I’d like it 

better there,

how maybe I should 

just shut up.

For him, so much depends 

on America beside the eight-piece 

Chicken McNuggets,

America listening to Kid Rock

from his shoulders,

America with its missiles

ready to launch,

no longer restrained

by a thin, white tank top. 

House of India #45

Goodbye until next time. This tower’s shadow has grown long, and its cellar is full of wine and little devils. The world is uncertain, and I do not know when we will meet again. 

Arabia has imaginary trees. Siam has imaginary people. Sometimes, real problems rise from imaginary lands. The waitress has a scar on her hand that is difficult to see in the low and flickering light where she and I sometimes meet.

This rubble used to be a tower. When I was a boy, we would jump from the top of the rubble and tell lies. We would strike matchsticks and swat flies. We lived in an imaginary country: Tizza Thee, we greeted you each morning.

Had the waitress’s mother not imagined a certain kindness in the waitress’s father’s eyes, someone would have still imagined the waitress. She surprised him with her body. They were served spicy stew by a young woman who mispronounced the word “hello.” His odor was layered with soap and smoke. I imagine.

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