Michael Malachowski, Newark Nothing

We shall be made a story and a by-word through the world

One o’clock, 25 in Newark, I am
A white boy sitting sullenly amongst
What Yahweh and William Bradford’s people
Would call “minorities.”
Oh, I am offered gum. The ice crackles, bridging, bridging…
I am dropped off at an unofficial bus stop. Engineered simmer, simmering…
I am going to jail. These times…

I am going to jail to visit my old Polish nanny,
Who tried to cozen Jesus & Karl Rove and revuelto a this draconian land;
No avail, now she’s deportation fodder.
She speaks no English, crow cries in her eyes –
Oh white america, you sure hate your antipodes.

But here comes that sensitively won Wordsworthian epiphany—
And here am I the spoiled initiate in the visitation hut (aside from attorneys),
Ephebe, do you dare tell them of Mexico-mown lawns
On the suburban cusp of Bethesda’s bust?
Where is that angel descending? Dirty beggar it; who is cured?
I am aware I am no one’s minority just another,
So how can they be mine if I’m understaffed?
I am going to ask myself again and again.

In the dusty drops of plaster jail-grime shine, I parcel out sight
On all and focus on these masks called people:
Each a tendril of an interstellar something squeezed onto a census.

But in the silence it is clear –
Accepted, understood, the silent parcel of this connection stirs.
We’re humans ferrying toward our downtrodden,
Not signifiers signifying social classification.

My nanny weeps to see me, worn tears as real
As past and future Bastilles crumbling, puritan heads shaken and shaking.
In this mire I am a man, sanitizer-free and as dirty
As my neighbor, thank all weak gods for the dirt that still binds us!
Without dirt, the pallid snows would coat and coat…

Back on the bus, I am no timid white boy
But a star caramelized in stars, a volatile part
Of a larger pain, an ache for Arcadia—
For America.
This port, that factory, that steel rung home
Now rings us up as downtrodden
Visited upon by a trodden-down idea.

Who still believes in cleon’s democracy?

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