A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
The gentle sea of her voice floated into my ear turned up to the world from the bare mattress we’d stripped long ago and had taken to sleeping on in these times that required frank and private exposure. In an ideal world, buskers might be outside smashing their guitars and gathering machine guns to stow in their cases. Or maybe just better words that pierced the smug armor of—what do they call them?—lies? But amid the exhaustion of tepid revolution, we could only lie there and repeat love with the fatalistic tenacity of the doomed. America, 2019. Not so long ago. Today, actually. We had blue sleeping bags we sometimes crawled into, but their cocooning properties had eroded. We had no butterfly illusions. Why couldn’t we take to the streets like on the news from foreign lands with wider streets than ours and outrage with staying power built on bloody old stones thrown against privilege? Wilting in the face of true evil, unprepared for the torn-up rulebook, the pissed-on rulebook, we pouted on the sidelines while clever ones made soporific jokes to overzealous hoots and frantic applause. I felt her skin against my back and the comfort of an open wound. I reached back to pull her closer to squeeze out the panic. My other ear tunneled down through the mattress to the center of the earth but I could still hear her: you must get up, she said.
Copyright 2019 James Daniels
Jim Daniels’ many books include The Middle Ages (Red Mountain Press, 2018). A native of Detroit, Daniels is the Thomas Stockham University Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.