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A Post 911 Anthem: the Morning Shower Version

July 15, 2016

I wrote this anthem post-911. I woke up this morning and sang it again.

 

I sing of myself in the shower

the water tumbling like an ad

for soapless soap and tropical fantasies.

I celebrate my armpits, the grassy gullies

of my upstretched arms, voices splashing

down my chest and belly. I sing

to the rabbit in my loins,

to your body next to mine, the hillocks

and the warren door.

 

I sing in tears of love

of my germanic heritage, four-part,

six-part multi-hearted harmony:

beethoven, bach, my grandparents,

bonhoeffer and einstein,

the millions who were massacred,

and the millions who made us who we are

because they lived. I celebrate the mennonites

who would not kill and the anarchists who killed them.

 

I am a cornucopia of history’s compostibles:

recycled rage, wisdom, control, chaos,

a parade of brash brass bands blasting

ayatollahs, borks, falwells, herzogs,

netanyahus, arafats, stalins, maos, john-pauls

john and paul, francis and frankenstein,

I trumpet osama, guevera, mandela, gandhi,

macolm, martin, fidel, and fidelio.

 

I sing of roots, equality, peasants, pageantry,

leaves, earth, & never again,

from generation to generation.

 

I hug my arms around me in the shower

to bring you close, bring into me old

wrinkled men and blue-skinned girls,

the raped and the rapists,

the free traders and the prostitutes, those with sad

livers and despairing immune systems,

the starving mothers, the alcoholic glue sniffers

the bank presidents who make them possible.

 

Oh the delight of our efficiencies! I sing to

the weary oil workers of shell and exxon,

the otter-slickers who give us jobs,

and the sleek auto-makers who take us to them.

Praise to the nigerians and arabs we sacrifice.

Praise to the desert storms

that swirled our skirts up to new self-

indulgent heights.

 

I waltz buck naked with clasping tree-huggers,

a threesome with buff-muscled tree-cutters,

tight-wad men in tailored suits

selling their children for another year

of labour lost.

I hum of the saws and the green chain,

my sleepless body, my aching back,

the teachers paid from this store

of fallen trees,

the students at the wooden desks,

the poets scribbling wisdom and garbage

on these sacrificial leaves,

the grandchildren who will inherit

the dregs of our wine.

 

Praise to the righteous

who remind us with guns, crosses, and sickles

of gods within and without.

Praise to the preaching neo-Darwinists

who snort to us of non-God

from logical pulpits.

Death comes to us all,

and life, illogically.

Praise to the french for giving us

a nuclear underground and future to protest,

for wine to help us celebrate and to forget,

for arrogance to make us feel humble.

Praise to the nazis the stalinists the taliban the 700 Club

for making us seem like the good guys.

And oh the chinese japanese

javanese how can I thank you enough

for the wonders of your orchids your walls

your sand beaches your stereo sets your batik

the rain forests you have devastated

the gold and nickel and oil

that enrich and enrage us

the jaundiced jokes you have given us?

 

All that I am is thanks to you.

 

I shout white is fine and

black is beautiful.

I belt out the happy blues of the half breed,

the dilly-dallying sperm, the twisted tongue,

the sugar babies franglophones métis

flat germans mulattoes creoles.

 

Let us create a movement and call it

one-quarter chinese one-eighth black

some part indian-semitic-arab a pinch of aboriginal

some russian mongolian a bit of monkey

and a little white

is beautiful.

 

Let us wiggle our butts,

sing the delights of our impurity,

dance our despair,

love ourselves,

all of us, in the deluge,

in the shower.

 

Sing now, at last,

to the lambs we were,

what we lost sight

of, have become,

little tigers, burning bright,

our might undone, down

on our knees,

 

in awe, the sky a shivery cerulean,

the cracked sun, sunny side up,

still sizzling, as we rise up,

bleary-eyed and bright as dung beetles,

to face another raw Ra day

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