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The Lord and the General Din of the World

ISSUE:  Summer 1992
The kids are shrieking at the edge of the pool,
their angelic faces twisting. They like
to shriek—they like to make the Great Dane bellow.
When he cannot stand it any longer, he jumps the wall
and chases them, still screaming, in.

And under all this, now a steady grating—
a plastic bottle of blue cheese dressing
scraping up against the concrete gutter,
bobbing off the aqua, sun-flicked waves
the kids have made by jumping.

And there’s a man here from Afghanistan
who hasn’t cut his greasy hair since he was driven mad.
His name is Simon, but he looks just like Christ.
He walks up and down beside the pool, oblivious
to screams and barking. He gestures as he talks,
whispers and pontificates—and no one listens.

Lord is the general din of the world your own?
Does it have purpose? I cannot stand it.
Something that is good in me is being destroyed

Early this morning I walked out into the vineyard
where the sun hit the sunburnt grape leaves
and the dusty grapes about to be harvested.
I felt something light then—a skittish joy—
but it was also a falling off from the world
to the place you can get to by fasting.

Simon marches by, then stops—and looks
at a stretch of bright green grass:
 ”Is that shit?
 I thought so.
 I have been here before.
 They always hide the horses though.”

Lord, is the general din of the world your own?
What holds me here destroys me as I go


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