Put it all in the air
and let it hang there,
our ball of broken dreams
and broken bones
Once in Germany a Spanish man
asked this American
how to use the phone.
Now I’ve studied Spanish
in my day,
but the year of the day was long before,
and now I live in Holland.
In Holland they speak Dutch.
That means not much to a Spaniard,
but sadly Dutch
words were the only words
I could think of to help the Spaniard.
I had thought at Pentecost
God had set it aright,
but clearly we’re still lacking light
when an American in Germany
speaks Dutch to a Spaniard!
You were the first Dutchman I ever knew
and now I live among your kind, your
fishers and swallowers, ripping up
what they’ve built, running water where
they drained it forty years before,
legal and illegal-
izing their drugs, and letting
the masses in, though not really.
When I was ten I’d have told you,
there treading water in our mud hole,
that I knew a better way –
USA! USA! –
which won the big one
when the chips were down
but even then, clothed and correct,
I’d have had to concede,
amid blown-out lives
(neighborhoods, brains, gutters…)
that maybe the promised promise
wasn’t always delivered.
So where does that leave us
(Are you dead?)
now I’m in your country
and you’re in mine?
How bout we split the difference?
You grant me my mountain-prairie-
and I you your genius architecture
and painter sky.
Each can keep the people he’s with.
(They’re about the same.)
You’ll not find me, though,
swimming in no hole.
And those cuckoo clocks you keep for yourself.