For Hope

March 5, 2009

By Jamie York

A man shot himself at the Shell station yesterday,
trading his blood for oil,
for a helicopter ride to the hospital,
for hope.
“Were there any warning signs?” a reporter asked,
and I remembered a Vietnam veteran
sleeping on a steam grate in front of the FBI building,
too tired to pull the trigger.
Some do and some don’t,
yet gas prices and hopelessness are rising daily.
“The warning signs are everywhere,” a witness answered.
“Why don’t you report on the world as it REALLY is?”
And all I could hope for was that someone would miss him.

Icon

March 5, 2009

By Jamie York

you lay buried for two thousand years
until a farmer found you in a furrow
and claimed you for his own

now you cry, still bleeding,
for the Sins of Columbus and Reagan
and the wandering spirit of your creator

and you stand, sacred and disciplined,
sharing your vast knowledge with arrogant strangers
who cannot understand the simplicity of your message:

turn off your computers and listen,
just listen

Forbidden Moon

March 5, 2009

By Jamie York

A crescent moon over a Yasgrumas tree
near Havana, Cuba, whispers romance.

Who would believe that American citizens
can be jailed for watching the moon
from this particular location on Earth?

Legend places vultures, wings spread wide,
perching in the early-morning fog
above the Ariguanabo River.

A similar creature, perched on archaic foreign policy,
waits at the U.S.-Mexico border for parting lovers.

Ice Storm

March 5, 2009

By Jamie York

A twig snaps, then a limb,
breaking this morning routine of ours into something
different.

We peer out the kitchen window, standing almost close enough to touch,
as a dogwood branch lands soft and soundless
into our private wasteland of kindling, power lines and unbrewed coffee.
“Do trees feel pain?” I ask, not really caring how stupid that sounds,
but needing to say
something.
We both flinch.  The Elm, perhaps?
We see nothing.

But I am really thinking about birds frozen in their nests
and want to crawl back into mine
alone.

By Jamie York

I can hear the rustle of clothing
and the muffled snap of Grandma’s purse.

I can see the swollen ankles of the woman across the aisle
and the sunburned face of tall farmer
as he stands ready with his basket.

I can see the twitching hand of the preacher
as it thumps lightly on the pulpit,
and its Grandpa’s turn to lead the final hymn —
“Blessed Redeemer.”

But the air is heavy and the clock is loud;
I want to go home.

Salt and Pepper

March 5, 2009

By Jamie York

Mashinini told us
of Krugerrand gold and slavery,
Kentucky Fried Chicken
and segregation, pass laws
and Coca-Cola.  We learned
of language barriers
in Soweto,
Johannesburg torture.
Mashinini told us
of these things
and more —
the hundreds of students
killed in rebellion, the thousands
held in concentration camps
without reason.
Mashinini told us
of the Volkswagon beetle
and starvation, of the open graves
at Dimbaza, waiting to be filled with children.

Morning

March 5, 2009

By Jamie York

The old Maple tree is gone now     firewood probably,
or maybe they didn’t like to rake leaves
fifteen years ago I might have cried,
but not now     I’m cold

Oreo crumbs strewn about the floor again
brown apple sits on the television
as if it belongs there     cartoon napkins
soggy     soggy with milk
a Hansel and Gretel trail to the kitchen

I never could trust anyone with plastic flowers
there’s ink on my hand    blue     blue
my favorite color blue     I’m cold
I don’t want to work when it’s cold

“I want juice mommy.”

Damn

Stray Dogs

March 5, 2009

By Jamie York

A doctor cut the umbilical cord in Minneapolis
and the boy went south to play —
unaware of your existence for fifteen years
until he found you in a grey file,
safely tucked away
amidst the jumbled legal jargon of court proceedings.

At twenty-six
he found you in a yellow letter
from Marina Del Rey.
“Think of me as a friend,” you said,
“It’s not so hard —
Just try to find a person behind the words.”

You told your story, his story —
of ancestors and siblings,
triumph and misfortune,
books and Indian relics:
“And I have one of those personalities that seems
to collect stray dogs when it comes to men.”

On Awakening

March 5, 2009

By Jamie York

In my dream I saw pillars of Angora
knocking physical science
and I wished that
(just once)
I could walk among carbon atoms
without crying.

At the Arcade

March 5, 2009

By Jamie York

Enter Gorf, Super Mario Brothers,
and monomaniacal youths
baffled by relativity.

Not books
but token quarters;
not rational thought
but deus ex machina;
not recreation
but “Game Over.”