Wednesday, November 7, 2012

At Dawn \ Young America, Election Day

Nancy:  At times we may hear the groaner buoy in Grand Manan channel, a bell buoy off Liberty Point, the foghorn at Quoddy Head – perhaps the roar of the tides at Reversing Falls, even disembodied voices of men in the bay, clamming on a low tide:  the sounds of our environment, dependent on wind direction, temperature differences.

At Dawn         

Without boundaries,
fog of the Labrador
is filling the bay.

Fog of the headlands
threads the islands,
deep fog of the Gulf.

Untamed, undeterred,
fog of the buoys,
fog of the shipwreck shore.

At dawn, this is what I see:
that the tide of the sea is high,
that fog of the Labrador laps the shore.

My father sang of ships and men,
of bells, of voices singing
in the fog.  He sang of the deep.

Today, at dawn, the horn is blowing
at Quoddy Head  ___  ___        ___  ___
Our cabin floats on the sea of fog.
In the fog, my father is singing.

Alan:  I wrote this poem in 1988, the era of Reagan’s “Morning in America,” before cyber-commerce, when a letter cost 25¢ to mail, Kodak dominated photography, and Japan, not China, seemed like the coming thing.  Ah well – it wouldn’t take much to bring it up to date.

Young America, Election Day

I’ve never been to Young America –
Young America, MN –
which is where the rebate offers live,
the Kodak battery rebates, the Black and Decker rebates, the Bondo rebates,
the thousands of rebates that return to us
a dollar, minus postage,
on our purchase.

Young America!  I imagine a city of warehouses,
single-story metal-walled light-industrial hangers
with no people.
Young America hums with computers, with cash
and no people.

This is the town of the mail-order catalogue, the mail-in rebate,
the town that feels like morning, morning in America,
expansive, muscle-flexing, optimistic, Republican America
that lures us with offers, that jingles us alert
with capitalism’s wake-up call.

I hear America singing and it is a young, sturdy, vibrant voice.  Meanwhile,

the batteries in my flashlight
are whispering in Japanese.

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