Kathy Engel: July 4

No fireworks
This time

Day of Inter dependence
On the sidewalk
Next to the big store holiday sales
Voices strangled
Behind fabric
Blue red ink bleeds family secrets
(a flag by any other name)

Through blindfolds
Legs dragging metal, through distance
The contortion of staying alive

How many years
Which language
Letters home

No fireworks
For me this year
No silence either
Each explosion a bomb
With a one syllable name
Incinerating places, people,
Ideas some official can't translate
In the name of something
Too mean to declare
Alphabet blown to bits
Declaration of omnipotence
No celebration of detonating earthshaking
Killfest --
place of worship
Skin too tender to touch
With hands
No please, no thank you
No oohs and aahs shooting grandiosity
Through the fast food hotshot skyline
No beach picnic, rooftop party

A friend on a reservation
said the fireworks
started early this year
someone couldn't wait
they heard
but couldn't see from their home
then remembered what they are
when the boom and shiver came
out of nowhere
during dinner

This time
We just speak
The unspeakable
Plant something
With our beings

What world of human life are we inhabiting that we need to declare torture wrong and illegal?

Isn't that a given? Whose truths are these?

This time
We will not watch the stunning multicolored strip strapping
Miraculous sky of possibility
No new name for dismantling the parts that make a person whole: legs, kidneys, lips, hope, faith,

thought, bread, family, love

No gorgeous lights in the sky
electric shock
Land mine years and years later
baby scream
No fireworks this year

Interdependence Day

The lights
This time
sizzle from the words we dare
The way they work in our mouths
Syntax too complex and fascinating to pronounce
In a flash
In the sky
How we move
shimmer of memory
called justice
called community

We Hold These Truths
It is not too late
To claim
A legacy
Of meaning
Intelligent, attached

Tell the story
Tell the story
Tell the story

With thanks to eve, center for constitutional rights, ufpj, military families speak out, the keepers of the stories and words and soul, all the brave ones holding on against odds….

copyright Kathy Engel July 4, 2005