I don’t long, I don’t die, I don’t await
the departure of those I love. As the origin
of a particular plant is sussed, so too
animals, people, their cities, and smaller things.
When you wonder on what I have become,
be just. No more great songs of satisfaction,
no more wailing upon the hill to the hillside.
Be kind, for trust is not addition and addition
is not acceptance and acceptance is not humility.
Simply put, we are a failed and ruined people
incapable of even silence. We are equal to nothing.
The earth given to us, we have lost even that.
Big eaters of America, I join you in your parade.
Let us be watched and let us be spoken of.
For today fascination is gone and even vanity
is undervalued. I have often misunderstood destiny.
I will misunderstand it no more.
Joshua Beckman, from the book Take It (Wave Books, 2009)
This poem sort of begins with “Simply…” for me, am unsure about what to do with the first half. But the second half is fantastic, although I see how the first half is needed…
Erik Andriesse (Dutch, 1957-1993), Amaryllis, 1986. Gouache on paper, 114 x 80.5 cm.