"Marines call" and "Anyone who wants to fight me all the time"

Marines call

Marines call to say hello,
impress. I’m over 35 but my boys
19. They could go: Hide!

One moment spent tying a shoe,
another dying, gunshot wound or poisoned food.
Events in their mere chronology
                                                          make no sense.
And the details of yr dad’s life don’t either.
                                                                       Late night
quiet cigarette smoker. But next day,
the butts cleaned into the can. Who does that?
Lady in a skirt or overalls rolled up – cigarette smoke.
Now it’s yr dad.
                           Yr dad who
                                               watches for war.

Even if Uncle Sam disbands, dissolves
we the people will still be here and stay involved
with North America. The purple mountains majesty
                                    and shining seas
little people, big people, brown, red and white. Addicted
                                    to action movies.
Perhaps there is no choice. One must sit sitting still
                                    as a buddha, sitting bull.
I can imagine myself and all others – drivers, voters, runners –
                                    little fetal muscles
at first. Metastasizing. What’s it called when the cell
                                    at the tip of the organ
or organism, divides, and the organ grows? It’s called
                                    girl on a bicycle.

I find I make no sense. Her cunt, a practicality to her, is
                                    delicious to me
a miraculous sea lettuce or snapdragon. You’ve heard it before.
                                    A moral dilemma
wrapped in robes and silks and odors. Yet, come close,
                                    and business beckons
work gets done, life goes on, hair grows in, we go on
                                    vacation
the Marine Corps calls, desperate for new fetuses, to teach
                                    purposeful workmanlike killing
I’ll do my own killing, thanks, when violence comes to the neighborhood
                                    if I’ve got your back
your back’s gotten and if I’m on point, the point’s taken.

One world under God invisible with liberty and justice for all who
                                    Art in heaven
what the hell’s his name.
                                         Nemesis.
                                                         Hysterical.
The small war of an especially inept empire. The world’s too big
to swallow as the Krauts and Nips found out. Empire
is self-correcting. Them dark-skinned mustachioed shitheads
who can’t fix their own electricity seem to be kicking our asses
pert good. As did the gooks before them. All to the good. A
good lesson to know and then we all become friends following
the brawl. We apparently cannot skip the fight. It must
be fought, and fuck the girls.

 


 

Anyone who wants to fight me all the time

            “Soon I will know who I am”  --Borges

"Anyone who wants to fight me all the time"
committee meetings, board meetings.
Facing death was how they knew they were alive
or was it more about allocating resources
like yr Dad said.
It's hard to step outside what yr DNA tells you to do.
Nice tits.
Family farm, fight club. It's all one yet distinctions are
what separates the librarian, reflective man, from the road and bridge crew.
That's a class statement. Us guys love
our children and will, circumstances dictating, fight for you.

                       *                        *                        *

"Anyone who wants to fight me all the time"
is more important to me than my wife. But there is no one left to fight
and no one knows me and I know no one well. That's good,
"there is more space between people than I'd ever dared to hope."
I'm confused.
Meditator or gunfighter. Either could come to know himself,
flat abs, clear sight
with patience and discipline.
What's this:
know yourself?
Once yr knee or neck is smashed there's no getting up to fight.

                       *                        *                        *

"Anyone who wants to fight me all the time"
will grow old alone once I'm in the ground. He will live
with the question what was our purpose? He was managed by
the molecules we're made of, proteins, enzymes, amino acids, DNA.
Fucking DNA.
I'd rather be a rock.
But the rock is subject to
its elements. Thus, the periodic table and particle physics,
meiosis and mitosis and yes, democracy and self-governance,
all the colors of anthropology and ecology, windmills and sundials,
fission and fusion for evil and light
and the devil who exists to carry the load when we misbehave and fight
among ourselves.

                       *                        *                        *

"Anyone who wants to fight me all the time"
is how I know who I am.
Because the truth is always changing, depending on the meeting.
What's good.
Service to others is a safe bet. That service
may take many forms: fighting, meeting, teaching, making.
The fighting may be part of holding community together. Limited scope,
      defensive posture.
"How broadly we define community says everything." So,
we come to Mexico, a violent border and an unhappy history.
Or Gaza and Israel. Or Russia and just about everybody.
"How can a people become a nation without resorting to violence or incurring
      violent reaction?"
Does it matter? Accept violence like any EMT and devote yourself to
what, beauty?
Why do I write about violence, I've almost never
had to fight.

                       *                        *                        *

"Anyone who wants to fight me all the time"
is nothing compared to the ocean which can take your children any time.
The Nazis or janjaweed.
In peace we have our meetings.
"When violence comes to the neighborhood the hierarchy of communicants
      will hold or fold
it is then the peace work proves relevant."
Hold your clod of land.
Give way to the waves.
All I do not know.
I admire the writer who penetrates the unknown by describing that which
is not himself.
His enemy,
anyone who wants to fight him all the time
helps him live outside himself.

 

 

Robert Ronnow's most recent poetry collections are New & Selected Poems: 1975-2005 (Barnwood Press, 2007) and Communicating the Bird (Broken Publications, 2012). Visit his web site at www.ronnowpoetry.com.

 

Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - 21:39