— Dennis Richardson
I woke this morning thinking of black and white,
what Thomas Cahill said yesterday. He has found,
in his studies that there are only two movements
in the world: kindness and cruelty.
I had wanted to write a poem today, an idea I had
yesterday while sitting at a tall bar table at a friends
home. It faced the bay more than half hidden
by a giant pine tree that refused to move.
I can’t believe now that I wanted to sit up high to look
down, like a king, at my subjects. They were only words
needing predicates, a play on words, but now that my jaw
and mind are so set against cruelty, the joke’s on me.
I open the blinds to find a black morning, close them
until later when I can see lightness. It’s six thirty,
I need to start some oatmeal when I catch the glimmer
of a gold cloud beginning to burn outside in the back yard.
I hurry over to open the blinds in the front again, to sit
in the majesty of this morning; the slow baby-blue
sky of it growing deeper; trees and houses appearing
like they weren’t there before and the little two-year-old
girl toddling down the sidewalk with her grandma’s smile.
No, that was two days ago, before I heard Cahill speak,
before the little girl toddled into the kindness or cruelty
of that day.
Now I’m thinking of the slaves, subjects and some, if not
most, workers today. How they have to depend on supply
and demand. How lately they can’t even negotiate a fair
wage; the poverty of today and our huge economic divide.
Ironically I’m seated in front of a monitor to write this poem
looking straight at my subjects, not down at, not wanting to be
part of anything the cruel faction might do or say about their
subjects, their direct or indirect objects who are not objects at all