This is poesy’s true home, the unshined
genius, the cracks between paydays, where I
am forced to reinvent water, or a
wheel or two, turn it into wine, or latte, drive
to the store on two square wheels, and
shoes with no sole, ne easy task for the
soulless. What mothers can I invent
with no gas in my tank?
Under the Bus
Is it the same sun
that shines on the homeward bound,
the relieved nurse, scurrying out
from under razor wire?
Is it the same road
that takes her to her ease?
An ambulance earns a backwards glance,
a transient concern.
Is it one of her own?
What bullet dodged beyond yon sallyport?
She will rest easy, smile uncoerced, guilt assuaged.
The flotilla of squad cars, official seals adorning doors,
light bars strobing,
are nothing to do with her.
Is it the same sun
that shines just once more on a last choice,
the same road that runs
now guttered in blood?
The ambulance stops and waits by the bus;
nothing to be done
for a head popped like a melon,
chromed wheelchair stalled and upended
under that last-chance sun.
Is this the same sun that shone exactly
seventeen times on that same road,
that carried a thwarted lover
from courtroom to treatment
in an officially sealed bus?
The nurse is almost home,
the officials in her wake
not happy: the coroner late,
and a bus driver done for,
pension no pillow
at the feet of such horror.
Find the face that
frames your narrative; doe-eyed toddlers or
grimaced miscreants. Where is the
sanctuary for your native sons,
the daughters of your revolution?
There are no three strikes when
the tax man lobs the ball, no
rehabbing the hungry pensioner, no
asylum from eminent domain.
The outcry from behind walled compounds
drowns out the bulldozers.
Celebrities pass unicorn farts while
our civil rights bleed out in landfills.
The song of the common man is
too ugly to sing.
The agonal screams of the unpretty
are flushed into
Cucamonga, where the blood
of subjugated natives still produces
miracle fruit, where the San Gabriels sit
in your lap while you sip lattes, ill-mannered as puppies
but with a thousand hallelujahs,
may be my forever home.
Cucamonga, my miraculous mandarin,
my obstreperous strip mall,
my punchline, may be the last joke I ever tell.
Saturday was made of
cigarettes and insulation,
a boxer named Cassius Clay,
the cobalt bell of a piano,
and always, stars.
Know that we survive,
the threads are thin, but
we find ways, set up payment plans,
take our little mercies.
We attract to ourselves
good people, and we say
Please and Thank You.
We subsist on gratitude.
We leave the best crumbs
for the least gods.
Laura Saint Martin writes mystery novels set in the foothills of Southern California, featuring horses and their eccentric, courageous owners. She also writes poetry about life on the autism spectrum and blue collar struggles. She works at Patton State Hospital and for Rover.com.