Scenes of Negotiation
March 1, 2010
Mar 1, 2010
Z: I hated that job but You’d have taken it too if you’d had a family
Y: Pretty filthy and dangerous though wasn’t it?
Z: Those years, one bad move, you were down on your knees begging for work
Zz: If you’d had a family! Who’d you think we were, just people standing around?
Yy: Filthy and dangerous like the streets I worked before you ever met me?
Zz: Those years you never looked at any of us. Staring into your own eyelids. Like
you saw a light there. Can you see me now?
• • •
Hired guards shove metal barriers through plate glass, then prod the first line of
protestors in through the fanged opening. Video and cellphone cameras
devouring it all. Sucked in and blurted worldwide: “Peace” Rally Turns Violent
Protestors, a mixed bunch, end up in different holding cells where they won’t see each
Being or doing: you’re taken in for either, or both. Who you were born as, what or
you chose or became. Facing moral disorder head-on, some for the first time, on
behalf of others. Delusion of inalienable rights. Others who've known the score all
Some bailed-out go back to the scene. Some go home to sleep. Others, it's months in
solitary mouthing dialogues with nobody. Imagining social presence. Fending off,
getting ready for the social absence called death
• • •
This isn’t much more than a shed on two-by-fours over the water. Uncaulked.
Someone’s romantic hideaway. We’ve been here awhile, like it well enough. The tide
retches over rocks below. Wind coming up now. We liked it better when the others
still here. They went off in different directions. Patrol boats gathered some in, we
saw the lights and heard the megaphones. Tomorrow I’ll take the raggedy path up to
the road, walk into town, buy a stamp and mail this. Town is a mini-mart, church,
oyster-bar-dance-hall, fishing access, roadside cabins. Weekenders, locals, we can
blend in. They couldn’t so well. We were trying to stay with the one thing most people
agree on. They said there was no such one thing without everything else, you couldn't
make it so simple
Have books, tapes here, and this typewriter voice telling you what I’m telling you in
language we used to share. Everyone still sends love
• • •
There are no illusions at this table, she said to me
Room up under the roof. Men and women, a resistance cell ? I thought. Reaching
hungrily for trays of folded bread, rice with lentils, brown jugs of water and pale beer.
Joking across the table along with alertness, a kind of close mutual attention. One or
picking on small stringed instruments taken down from a wall
I by many decades the oldest person there. However I was there
Meal finished, dishes rinsed under a tap, we climbed down a kind of stair-ladder to the
floor below. There were camouflage-patterned outfits packed in cartons; each person
shook out and put on a pair of pants and a shirt, still creased from the packing. They
wore them like work clothes. Packed underneath were weapons
Thick silverblack hair, eyes seriously alive, hue from some ancient kiln. The rest of
are in profile; that face of hers I see full focus
One by one they went out through a dim doorway to meet whoever they’d been
expecting. I write it down from memory. Couldn’t find the house later yet
—No illusions at this table. Spoken from her time back into mine. I’m the dreaming
ghost, guest, waitress, watcher, wanting the words to be true.
Whatever the weapons may come to mean
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March 01, 2010