Art in the Streets
for my father
1 June’s wide-open flowers, women pushing strollers.... I think of the sun-warmed bench where we sat, discussing foreign trade. At a table near the Farmer’s Market, two protestors against “Apartheid In Israel” pass out cream-colored leaflets. Once, you kept your voice low as you said, “Hate is hate, no matter how the words cry, Peace.” 2
Dark is foe in backcountry, black cloth wrapped tight around the mouth and eyes. Tree roots, rocks, uneven ground are danger. A limb hits the chest like a rifle butt. Deep night changes the senses: direction lost, friends and enemies cannot be told apart, the sound of breath a threat. Night can suffocate in a tent, make visions of blood-scored fangs, piercing claws. A plane engine miles up could be an avalanche frothing down a mountain, tossing boulders, ending in eerie silence on the valley floor. A headlamp, a match, anything to fight against the dark, exhausted fear, the half-sleep of the terror-crazed. There are times anyone would give his last rations, his boots, his only weapon, for light.
It’s time to make my statement about how certain stars float in the night. When I stand and say Kaddish for you, one small black stone becomes eternal, turning like the sea, which takes no prisoners, and I become stubborn as the stars, white-hot as you were, hopeful as the foliage of forgotten Aprils, and I know each seed vows allegiance, each cell of my body, each strand of DNA. Perhaps, we’ll meet ten thousand leagues beneath my breath. Midnight at the Waikiki Marriott