Saturday, September 7, 2013


AMERICA  _______________________________________

We know one thing. Poverty has to exist for capitalism to
continue. As long as the cash flow is preserved within
an outer circle of raw destitution, the country is safe from social welfare.

If there were no outer circle of swamp and procreation, populations
without dental records or medical documents or photo
IDs, there would have to be a welfare state with health care and
housing provided to all. There would have to be an evening out,
all the way to the edge.

As long as the culture of poverty is maintained as a perpetual
problem, the benefits of being healthy and comfortable are inarguable
and must be paid for.

All those beds, clothes, threads lumpish and loose from water
and weight, all those mobile homes, the weeping, more water to
cope with, the bowels, more sewage, pets lost and grandparents
swept away, more mosquitoes, more bites to make more illness.
Meds for psychosis, AIDS, and depression — soaked and

Outside and inside bodies washed around in the waters of their
neighborhoods, the rooftop people called for help, or there were
the holdouts who sipped their coffee while the wind raged, muttering,
"I'm not moving."

The light hides in the top yellow leaves and at the tips of buildings
and the cold air just at knee level. This is what it was like
when the planes flew over Manhattan, the sky was an abnormal
cerulean blue.

Today a woman in New Orleans thanked Jesus when she was handed a drink of water.
We saw her on television.
Why did the woman thank Jesus instead of the man who
brought it to her?
I mean, if she thinks Jesus brought the glass of water, who
brought the flood that made her thirsty?
Tell me, why did the woman thank Jesus?
What if you were to tell her that not only did Jesus die two thousand years ago,
but he did not come back and does not exist in
any possible sense today.
What if you were to tell her that she should thank the man in
front of her instead and ask him his name.
What if you were to tell her that we stand alone on a planet and
when she is given a glass of water, it follows from a series of
causes  that have made it an inevitable gesture.
And so she should thank the man, not Jesus, for the water since
he was the faithful member of a chain of neighborly acts.
Or maybe that is what she meant.


The Winter Sun
(Notes on a Vocation)
Graywolf Press, 2009