| Proud Energy
After the wildfires our cities are brighter
at sunset. Doctors with carphones
and the young leave work early to watch
the dragon streaks of orange. In the hills,
new energy as the rattlesnakes plan
stamina among the dry coyote bushes;
coastal winds with careless
or all-mothering powers blow
ashes of brushfires up from L.A.
over the homeless on the avenues, a backless
song of the conquered and the conquerors
since California is its own muse...
In town, people we've stepped over all day
rise to get dinner in the churches.
Mostly pasta on doubled paper plates.
They put boiled eggs in their pockets
for later, as Saturn's shadow might
swallow its small moons. When is the moment
the prophets arrive? Curled carrots
look lively and pierced. The addicts eat fast,
but others put extra bread slowly in bags,
bread with proud energy passed from sun
to the wheat which will help the people
back to the avenue, to unlearn the directions,
they stagger toward standing--
(can you remember standing as a baby
before you learned your boundaries too well?)
Sunset on the leather faces, asking for money;
should we give it to them (you survivor--)
and whom do we work for? the family?
for the guy with tassels on his loafers
of the coiled internal snake
that's happy only after we've fed it
the small mammal of the unexpected?
Beside us the goodbye love generation
awaits the prophetic moment --
And if there's no prophetic moment?
No lightning instructions from the root
of the laurel, no fire congress
at the center of the world, if we can't even
say Not this time clearly into them, maybe
if we just notice one thing: look
at the buttons for instance: how many are there?
Look at the corner of the eyes: moisture
triangles, sleep scum...We wanted the perfect
heart but this energy didn't spin
one of those. The imperfect heart
of love is not looking away--
-- Brenda Hillman