By Ed Hack
Weather In America
The lightning didn’t stop. An hour or more
it lit the reddish sky at 3am
as rain slashed down in waves, terrific pour
that drenched the screens, as if it couldn’t end,
and when it did it was a sudden stop,
mad crashing down and then the spigot shut
or door was slammed–the silence was abrupt
and strange as that. No ifs or ands or buts.
The sky looks aged, the air is gray, light’s weird,
too sharp, then gone. The tree’s now being ripped
by wind that puddles, picks up, howls, as near
to voice as sickness gets just when the balance tips
and it must run its course in craziness,
must scream, accuse, and all the bloody rest.
The North Atlantic showed me there’s a world
beyond all syllables or thoughts that say
my name or places where my life unfurled
where I thought I could fly. You spend a day
–no, no, ten minute’s all that I could stand–
just staring at that living, gray immen-
sity, you lose yourself, your legs, your hands,
the life you thought you had–for here’s the end
to all of it. At best some lint upon
a sill, whirled burnt out leaves, thin spidered frost,
the photos of beloved dead. The charm
was strong. I turned towards light and warmth still lost
until I pulled the heavy door. My wife,
her book, the human noise. Thank God, my life.
What hope the gold of morning brings. But then
I hear the ancient saw that nothing gold
can stay. So this brief beauty’s not my friend?
That bird perched on the topmost branch–what hold
it has on me, a singing bird against
a soft blue sky. And then it flies away,
winged shadow in the frail new air. What test
is this about the advent of each day?
The tree’s not splashed, it’s soaked in gold, the green
turned somehow silver-bright, the alchemy
of morning light. I blink, and what I’ve seen
is gone. Gone cold. Gone dark. It’s just a tree
the sun passed through. I get a glimpse and then
like every single thing in Time, it ends.
As I begin to write the mellow gray
because it is exactly how I feel
up from the buried womb of sleep, the day
moves on, goes brighter as the gray air
yields to hillocked, broken fields of whitish cloud,
more mood than cloud, a low grade glare that’s on
its way, like wind, through the mirage of now.
I realize the only weather’s gone.
The news is horrible as history.
The fools have voted in a fool who knows
as little as his mirror shows. We see,
again, each day, that bottom has new lows.
It’s always Plus ça change for human kind.
The world? The world’s beyond the human mind.
Plain light, light like venetian blinds or chairs,
the tiles on the floor, the door knobs on
the doors, the section of the wall that’s bare
(the future waiting there) outside, the palms
that line the silken streets, no winter here,
no grit but sand and dust of human skin
(a woman told me this), the young cashiers
who ask me for ID–amid the tins
of soup and pasta sauce and milk–for wine,
the sun that is an argument you can-
not ever win, the You Can Walk Here signs,
yet no one out except the poor whose plan
to beg is scrawled right on their signs that say
I’m sick and hungry, lost, right now, today.
About the Author:
Ed Hack was a teacher. Now he is a poet. Ed started writing poetry at 16 when the world seemed to reveal itself. He wrote free verse for years, was published here and there, but then, three years ago, decided to take on the discipline of the sonnet, of metered language, thinking, and then discovering, that a caged tiger is no less dangerous–in fact, it might be more, since you can get closer to it.