She Didn't choose

Starry kingdom. Leafy quiet.
No mad kingdom of the mute,
No night visitations,
No incestuous couplings, disgrace.
No blood—no, that is far off tonight.
All hate, all pain, all that is crazy or brutal
or mean or incomplete.
That Fall River falling away.
Just my brother
playing Eric Clapton songs
on his guitar and singing.
High up, far, far off, away.

Afternoons of utter exuberance
Flecked, dappled grasses.
We wore laurels in our hair.
I wove him crowns of leaves,
berries, sea grasses, Starling feathers,
like a teenage Jesus.

Leafy kingdom.
Small empire of bliss.
Notice how artfully I have constructed this!
Trundling along on my little feet
carrying nails and timber,
Singing—OMG me singing!

Who has brought us here?
Who positions us this close to happiness, to peace,
And then snatches it away?
Who allows us only a taste of sweetness in the dark?
Honey, honey, honey moon, lucky duck, silly goose,
And we are gluttons for it. It’s beautiful up here!

But then just as suddenly darkness comes
and our bodies are draped
In irrevocable night.
Or so it seems.
It certainly feels that way.

My brother wielding a blunt ax,
looks up from his labor.
Out of nowhere the awful friends,
in beards, with swill.
All harshness--all that is vulgar,
random, impossible, returns.

And like a cartoon, garish, bloated--
I am foiled again.
beating my breast.
all Fall River streaming back
a chorus of fishbones and weariness.

Pale droning of factory and trash fish
Paint the little girl in the corner pink.
It's memory so there aren't the same rules.
She could choose to alter the central fact--
that he is going to die--but she doesn't choose.

Poetry by Ashe The PoetBay support member heart!
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Written on 2016-01-21 at 20:15

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one trick pony The PoetBay support member heart!
this is as broad and devastating a poem as i've read from you (and i've read a lot). within that there is humor and self-revelation, and images of innocence and disappointment and inevitability. in the end, though, in the memory, there is no undoing what has been done.

wow, ashe, this is a life caught on a page. i am dazzled by it.

your thoughts are deep and skill is sharp. A soulful poem.

Lawrence Beck The PoetBay support member heart!
This is a very powerful, very touching poem, Ashe. Memories, you can manipulate them up to a point, but, beyond that point, they are inviolate.