My Freedom Lawn
Nothing reminds me of you more
than the smell of a New Orleans whorehouse,
knee-deep in floodwater on a Sunday morning.
I inhale the polluted paradise of you:
the Indian tuberose of your hair overlaid
with the stale cigar smoke of industrial smog,
the Calabrian bergamot of your thighs smeared
with the pale semen of herbicidal run-off.
It is hard to believe that one morning a walk down
the dark streets of their doomsday vaults will
have power enough to bring you back to me.
But will their bottled specimens ever really satisfy
my longing? Why else would they build frozen arks
deep in the earth while glaciers melt?
I guess back in the day alchemists ignored
the standards of impossibility as much as we do now
(that carp grow naturally from reeds along the Nile,
mice hatch in sealed jars of spoiling wheat grains,
bees swarm from the horns of butchered bulls after
a few days)— the terrifying, blind logic of it.
Putting our money on today’s Basement Betties—
Is that what round tables are doing to rescue you?
Is that what these natural alarms going off
are all about?—killer heat waves and super tornadoes,
colonies of mutant pests without predators,
diseases spreading unchecked by winter’s chill.
Is that what all the cruel fecundity of life
has been prophesying?
Southeast of Eden, behind the worst house
in the worst neighborhood in the worst town
of the worst country, is Darwin’s smelly little pond.
It slowly percolates a pre-biotic soup
of interstellar spores in the olive light
of someone else’s universe.
I could be buried here—mother-nature’s son—
bound hand and foot.
I am buried here.
John A. Blackard