TODAY'S NEWS FROM THE MESSENGER--
NEWS SOURCE FROM
THE TEMPLE OF THE YELLOW RECTANGLE AND CHAIN-LINK FENCE
21 January 2020
Extra light shown from within this morning
at The Temple of The Yellow Rectangle and Chain-link Fence
as City workers had cleared snow from its parking area, piling it inside
Temple perimeters creating a six-foot snow-bank attracting
not only morning light but enabling the witnessing community
to see over the chain-link fence and into the loading area
where three buses had arrived to load 87 asylum seekers
on to Swift Air for deportation from the United States of America.
Seven women and eighty men, bound by hands, waist and legs,
in chains, board the Swift Air jet carefully escorted by men
wearing yellow vests, employees of ICE. The 87 number
is larger than the usual number, presumably due to the buses'
inability last week to get over mountain passes they must cross
after leaving the Tacoma Detention Center. One witness
who made the three-hour drive from Walla Walla
will climb the snow bank, waving the Pride Flag
from Snow Bank Peak, newly named, during the process
of transferring and deportation of the men and women.
One woman following the man up the snow bank, turns and asks,
Where do they go from here? To another detention center in Texas?
Keep asking questions. Gather your fragments.
Maybe your task will be to assemble questions.
I arrived early to measure Temple's rectangular perimeters,
counting off 17 paces twice, for length,
and seven-and-a-half paces for width. Inside the stripe
of yellow paint, one length, and one width, connects
to one length and one width of chain-link fence,
creating not only a viewing area, but a Free Speech Zone.
Inside one is safe. Other rules apply outside.
Guides for outside is up to the individual. Know the rules.
Seventeen paces by seven-and-a-half. A free space.
Three words, No Está Solo, in black paint on a shower curtain.
D's count is careful. She relies on binoculars.
Double-checks what she finds with our photographer, M.
Another woman keeps count on the yellow notebook pad.
After the flight D makes two calls: One to La Resistencia,
the other to Center for Human Rights at the University.
Today one question remains. A woman's boarding is questioned.
Was she held back? Or not? An illness perhaps.
But where is she? If D doesn't know, nobody knows.
21 January 2020
TAKING THE MASTER LOCK
FROM THE SOCK DRAWER
Rusted from decades closing
lockers at the YMCA,
no longer having to recall
11-21-15, I smile putting it
in my pack with the same green
towel I kept to dry the dog
after bathing. I'm drying
bosc pears and apples.
It's Sunday, and I've skipped
worship because I'm proud
like my mother who was never
quite ready for a walker. Next
week we're carrying fruit
and four Walt Whitman stamps
framed to bless a poet's house
at Sun River, to sit in the kitchen
over meals. My wife and I
read Mary Oliver's Devotions
before meals. She's been gone
a year this week. Last night
we read Fish coming from a bucket
becoming part of everything
through words in water. I'm a new
member at the new Y.
4-digit coded lockers replace
the need to carry the old Master.
Driving shackled asylum seekers
to their ICE appointments
is how I carry privileged fire.
My health insurance pays
for my premiums. I ask that
Oliver's prayers deliver me
from taking anger out on others,
to think of fidelity in food,
dwelling in found sanctuary.
20 January 2020
HOW PROOF ARRIVED
THAT I DIDN'T CARE FOR THEIR MONEY
--for Wes Hanson
A series of short poems after coming
from the bank with my account closed
due to inactivity, I catch up on email.
It's the pleasure of the doing,
the practice, she says. Imagining absences.
Another friend, the one who only corresponds
in poems, wails over manufactured
Christmas correspondence. He reminds
me of Jesus spitting to make mud cakes
for the blind man's eyes. How can I
tell him how much I love his poems
righteous in his tears for a bleeding planet?
January 9, 2020
POST CARD TO AUNT PHYLLIS
AFTER OUR VISIT ON KAREN'S BIRTHDAY
You're Karen's birthday present
I say when you ask why we're here.
You're just back from lunch
with Gerri and Eric.
Karen's 75 today, but you
won't turn 102 until the day
before Valentine's. A surprise
party for the young. Too many
pictures you say as we stand
in front of posters.
I thought growing old would take longer.
Allison made this wall to last.
We talk about Books on tape,
look at Danielle Steele's titles
and Jackie Kennedy--Clint Hill
took care of her 29 years you say.
You remind us to talk good
about the dead and call me
an educated fool. Karen
takes a picture of me
sitting at your feet.
POST CARD TO WARREN MURPHY
ON KAREN'S BIRTHDAY JUST AFTER CHRISTMAS
There's nothing I like better than mail,
Warren. My eyes go right to that stack
of letters on your light table. Photos.
Joe and Karen making lefse. Maybe
it's pizza. Pan de Vida. How cool
to see Karen and I on Christmas card
beside you and Betty framed beside us.
It's January 2d by the block calendar.
Karen's 75 on this day. You two
talk family ancestry, children
arriving Christmas morning
in pajamas. Karen says she doesn't
miss work, but dreams about it.
That's the way that goes,
you say smiling. This post card
from Yakima says we love you.
10 January 2020
Woke at 4
I slept in
10 January 2020
THE HEALING STAMP (SEMI-POSTAL)
We've been working on these prayers
for some time, wanting them ready,
at hand, finding ourselves instead
in a different airport, banal's trap door
insisting we say To hell with it,
say it wrong. Say Tet, January 68,
surprise on your way to the Post Office.
Neither birthday nor attack. Days
piled on top of one another
in body bags. Months and months
of dead bodies. Pull over,
look for paper. Dead leaves,
dark ink, a rich mulch unfolding
green springs of hope sprung,
airplanes leaving tarmac daily
a half century back. Medicine
thrown down watches women
wave to asylum seekers
bound and boarding
Swift Air's determined deportation,
women's voices out-singing
desperation, Not alone.
You are not alone.
7 January 2020