Even Before They Could Enter


Richard Milazzo

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 105 in 2002.

September - November 2001
N Y.C., Savannah, Ga., Miami, Florida

Even before they could enter them
Like an irreversible dream,
Even before the invisible birds
Could turn the giant silver towers

Into a shimmering mirage in the desert,
Could fall like giant metal tears
From an impossibly blue early morning sky,
And the concrete dust

Could bulge through the streets
Like clouds of sand
In a new more terrible kind of desert,
A new more terrible kind of reality.

The rooster from the Wild West
Was already strutting on the world stage,
His dull feathers and even duller beak
Filled with retribution, evil doers, and "those folks"-

One wing taking cover in the Midwest,
In the name of greater security,
And the other launching a New Crusade
In behalf of the old Belt and Book-

And the hen was hiding in his cave in the East,
Laying comfortably back on his well-manicured elbow,
Dictating into his microphone a 'holy' war, a new, still more Fundamental moral imperative, this one from the Mideast-

Even before the angels could finish falling
From the steel blue sky like birds on fire.
Now terrified by the external world
All of its internal struggles become outer ones;

And comparably terrified
By the inner ones, the exterior world
Becomes a stealthy black one.
Now we can all dance

A new oily black Dance of Death
In the desert - the first but surely not the last
In the new millennium - in the monstrous name
Of freedom with a green back

And a god with a veiled face.
And we dance this dance
Even before the angels can finish falling
From the steel blue sky like birds on fire.