Memorial days; Cockroaches; Indepedence days

Your father told us about the time
he lost control of the Tahoe
on the ice.
We ate chocolate cake and went
wine-tasting.
But aren’t they the same thing?
Both only offer
acerbity’s opposite.

And
all dead soldiers look the same. And
the trees aren’t so far away.
They are not “outside.”
Where they are, and
where we may be.
It’s the same thing.
They’re just a something out of our immediate grasp
to which we prefer
frictionless function
keyboards and computer mice
and the Google map directions
your father got off his computer
(they were wrong).
The indifference of machines
and Nature’s indifference,
(her iceberg face) are
the same thing. Can’t you tell?

Doesn’t the sage bring
yes, sir and
no, sir together and rest in
Heaven
the dead man in Yossarian’s tent?
Is he a commoner there
or a commoner here?
A noble? Valiant? (Vale!)
Vivi fortuna juvat.

* * *

A month later I had a dream.
I dreamt I was a bug in the bed
of a Chinese philosopher. And
I didn’t know if I was me
dreaming I was a cockroach
lying in bed beside Chuang-Tse or
if I was a cockroach
dreaming I was me
in bed
with a copy of the Inner Chapters
lying open beside me.
But,
after squashing the cockroach
beneath a sandal
the answer became pretty clear.

But aren’t they the same thing
anyway? Me dreaming I’m not me
or not-me dreaming I’m me? And
what’s really the difference
between men of letters and
men of liquor? Don’t they both
sleep deeply?

Farmer John and
Farmer Juan…
so long as the sweet taste
of strawberries washes away
bitter panic from my mouth
it’s all the same (thing) to me.

That night I was underwater,
I was naked,
tiny bubbles clinging to leg hairs,
bubbles released, floating up like souls
to burst into Brahman’s
brisk, cold clarity,
my naked body blue,
slightly blurry beneath the water,
chest hair swaying like seaweed.
Can you blame my hunt for
opacity?
I wanted to be swallowed or
regurgitated.
Aren’t they the same thing?
Whichever’s warmest.

Am I Joe, Augustus, or St. Augustine?
Am I father, son, holy ghost?
Does it matter?
Ice breaks for the weight,
not the name.

* * *

Independence days were alike in
dignity. No, that’s not
what I meant.
They were long
(like McLoughlin)
and full of circles and city blocks
and all of them
Oregonian.
Or simply full of ladybugs.
California you could say is full
of aphids or even just plain full of
assholes. (But, the same.
Past, present, and futurum.)

Past being most unimportant,
present less so,
and future the elephant in the room,
in the present the authorities can pry license plates
off cars and shoot young ladies named Neda and we can
do nothing,
but soon oppression
and inaction will
merge and they’ll see themselves
for what (they are.
the same thing.)

What need will there be for fireworks
if the whole world burns?
Where will the cicada go
if summer never ends?

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About allisunknown

26 year-old student, tutor, and writer. Write for http://www.spectrumculture.com. Also nascent pedestrian advocate. Twitter handles: twitter.com/joeclinkenbeard twitter.com/PedInPDX
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