U.S. Grant shaves and shines
his teeth and cleans lint off his best pants.
Nothing U.S. Grant can do with his boots:
stitches in seams shot, paint spotted
hide of something dead -- and these soles,
slanted, bare fiber scuff his steps.
U.S. Grant doesn't look for love in the right
places. He doesn't take love when it's given,
fumbles when he's got it. "Jeezus," U.S. Grant
mutters, "How this war lingers on and on..."
U.S. Grant rides through the rocky mountain
foothills sprawled with sage
above him vultures turn to biplanes
a '57 chevy plunges
into the east walls of suburban homes
People in Utah and Idaho scream,
their skulls white dimes.
U.S. Grant is cold in San Fransico's July.
He rolls a cigarette in Union Square
and by his side a yellow-jacketed Indian
says he travels only in the white cities
or else he leaves a crooked trail
and his friends get lost in Mexico.
U.S. Grant philosophizes:
"Such trouble; yes, keep life simple."
U.S. Grant travels to Portland, to Vancouver
where he meets a very old Indian
who speaks of his wartime in Liverpool.
Drinking Mogen David, U.S. Grant watches
the Indian kneel down upon the rocks
his cigarette unlit for three, four,
couple of hours.
U.S. Grant sits around the camp fire
and the old Indian explains, "These
are my children. They give me reason to live."
The next night U.S. Grant sleeps in Taos.
China bells from an eave hang
and play a Hopi wind song.
Townlights across the mesa glow like embers.
The fullskied night echoes these adobe walls
The wood burning stove is cool since dinner
U.S. Grant is tired, he's done a full day today,
the fiftieth birth of the atomic bomb
eased by the yip-yip of coyote.
Page Updated: 6/12/00