Monday, October 10, 2011

Tenth Horseman

All day the roar rattles my office window,
the chanting and the drums, the honking
of the horns of supporters safe in cars,
headed for a weekend in the suburbs.

All is horror: your baby faces all alight
and dressed in tattered cotton armor
you think will make you real
when the rubber bullets fly. Oh, go home!

This beast is older than you think,
and he sleeps in your own young blood as well:
if you once wake him well he'll eat you all,
using your own teeth, chewing your own tongues.

Go home and make a peanut butter sandwich.
Find a channel playing Gilligan's Island
or Bewitched. Dream about

some spotty Apollo, some Aphrodite
wearing braces. Do a little algebra homework.
Forget about oppression and justice. Go home.

On empty pavement, two blocks from the march,
drawn up two abreast are nine police
on horseback, still but for the swish

of tails, their plastic visors raised, the horses
visored too, in riot plexiglass.
A strategic reserve, no doubt. Oh please, go home!

The third row was missing a horseman: the third man back
had no one on his right. So they sat
before Agincourt or Crécy, before

Peterloo. Always that one space empty,
held by the phantom dream of order. That's the one:
the one who will panic and begin to shoot.
Oh please, my dears: oh please, go home.


Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

What were they protesting about? Apart from everything?

Dale said...

Specifically, the political power and irresponsibility of Wall Street. I'm entirely with them, as far as that goes.

Kathleen said...

Your poem scares me!

Dale said...

:-) Marches scare the hell out of me, always have.

Jayne said...

Dale- I worry about the same thing with the OWS movement. Young kids. Ohio. But it's their future they're being robbed of. It's good to see them take a stand!