Thursday, November 16, 2006

I'm working on a new collection of poems that utilize the vocabulary of politics and faith--those two forces so powerfully joined and so persuasive to many of us. Some of the poems touch on current events, but I'm more interested in how those events are described to us by those employed to do so, and how we talk about them to ourselves, in private. Here's one:

Person of Interest

We’re looking for whoever didn’t board,
some face surveillance failed to match against
its database, an unknown alias,
drifter handymen driving stolen vans.
No one’s suspect; we’re ruling people out.
Your call remains anonymous unless
arrest begets conviction and reward—
you’ll be coming forward to collect, yes?
We’re working leads, questioning the neighbors
(unmarried men with meticulous yards),
hold details close to filter wannabes
from players, who might barter names for time.
(The pro-life laid-off middle manager.)
Liberty’s measured by the tangible:
licenses and passports, identi-kits
where teeth and childhood fractures correlate,
stray facts the Web collects like flies or dew,
cookies, emails, consumer vapor trails
(priests who download monuments and blueprints)—
receipts of daily life a hologram
we recognize in glimpses, as if strobed,
revealed by interims of light, then gone.
We only want what’s best for everyone.
Will you accept the blame if God forbid--?
We’re looking, but it’s out of hand when kids’
imaginary friends are terrorists.
(Whoever moves their lips while reading this.)


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