Tuesday, October 21, 2008

a poem from a prior post after many reincarnations

Awakening at Cannon’s in Allentown, 1984

for W. P. D. and P. F. H.

“Karma...describes the continuity of occurrences that weaves the fabric of life. It is not linear.... In order for ignorance to happen, lots of other causes have already occurred.”
—Sakyong Mipham

“D’jou hear that?”
The screams were so piercing
through the jukebox, the clamor,
I nudged Bill, alert amid the beer,
smoke and blaring.
He nodded, already rising.
We left the crowded tables
for the almost stifled street—
no cars running,
no drunks singing,
no pedestrians,
just the muffled roar of the bar.
But then down the street
and across the corner
we heard the scream again,
doors slamming,
boots clomping down stairs,
an exploding front door—
a slim figure fleeing,
she fell on her knees,
curled over herself
as if concrete could hide her.
He charged out shouting:
—a repeating machine,
his fists above her rising—
I shouted, “HEY! LEAVE THAT
Turning, he lurched at us,
(holy shit, I thought).
Bill grabbed
and dragged me into his car,
revved it, pulled out, aimed
his headlights at them,
blinding them.
The woman (or girl?)
squinted at us, crawling/fleeing.
He threatened her to go inside—
she shouted back she’d never.
He set to kick her hard.
Bill floored the gas—
the guy’s eyes met mine—froze.
He was just bigger than her.
Then Bill apologized:
“I’m sorry I stopped you.
He could be armed,
but we’re safe in here.
He can’t see us very well,
but we can watch his every move.
And the motor’s running....”
They argued in the headlights’ glare;
the guy hesitated, retreated inside.
She stayed prone, shaking in sobs.
Then Bill parked again—
we didn’t know what to do.
She looked over at us,
her eyes full, curious.
Quavering, too scared to move,
she was younger than I’d thought,
her face puffy from crying.
Then Pam opened the bar door,
phone in hand, urging,
“Get in here! I called
the cops already.”
She pulled me in by my shirt.
“Do you wanna get killed?”
Tearing myself away,
and going back in, then,
I realized the answer
must have been

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