Moments My Generations (Rilke)

The entire city
Saw him off,

If only
In his mind.

It was all
Hot air balloons,
Ticker tape
Falling from the sky,

And golden gilded balconies
Filled to standing room only
With the elbowing elated.

The streets were lined with
Towering, blow up icons,
And money pinned by
Underweight pimps
To effigies of blown glass.

There were piles of books
And, of course,

Always fire.
A hand turns this dial...

I wake
And she sleeps dying
Through her nose,

Hogging the bed
All the while.

Again and again
We find our ways
To hide
From everyone,

Camouflaged only
By wooden floorboards.

Rivers of our
Unborn children
Escape us
Each morning,

Trying so desperately
To reclaim lost time

And falling.

We are planted
Permanently here,
For now,

But will never admit
To this
Roots and loam and water.

A raised cup for the


If they remember to read
The sections of the map
That hold
The living
To nothing.

When I couldn’t sleep
My grandfather
Told me
With no point;

How, in the end,
The Mongols
Finally retreated

To die
With honor
Beside foreign wells
They would not
Drink from.

It was not the outline of her ear

But the words
She refused
To hear.

One day
Our father will call,
I promise.

He’ll tell us he is leaving,
So get dinner ready
For his empty chair.

I only handled a rifle once.

I was eleven, and
A prodigy of a thousand deaths


I pulled the trigger and
It blew up in my face;

I didn’t even get the chance
To destroy my perfect aim.

We as children laid
On mildewed mats
In firing position,

Waiting obediently
For the last signal
From God

Again and again.

No one ever
Had the courage
To sit
In the stool
We built from snow.

I can’t remember anymore

Taught us
To uncork
The grenade

And then walk away.

No one talks about
The last century

We just buy the clothes,

And how many more
Innocent buildings
Must be lost
To satellite TV?

They took him prisoner
For his own good
To protect the others
From the 8th

Without looking up
The guard told him
That union rules stipulated
He must change
His shit-stained

And that there were no
Shoes left

That could fit
So small.

We take pictures
To seal in boxes
And forget

Through all of this:

All of these days,
All of these ages,
All of these channels,
All of these addictions:

We will still try to protect you

Because we couldn’t
Get it right
The first time.

If you haven't guessed yet

I stared out at
The blinking,
Time echoed city
Of my birth,

And the sign
Above the skyline

You must change your life.

Bryn Mawr, PA – 10/6/06