Maie by John Copley Alter

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Ella singing of the old ennui

granddaughter in her first fifth month

splashing in an outdoor bathtub

at her uncle’s house

on the Rappahannock—

these lines

from The Lamentation

over Ur

‘Hunger filled the city

like water

its people

are as if surrounded by water,

they gasp for breath’—

four thousand years

ago but hey who’s counting the rings

on the great tree—

Ella singing of the old ennui

Whitman’s beloved fifth month—

2.

Or you can listen to a little Marvin

Gaye—Mercy Mercy Me—What’s Going On—

What’s happening brother—

you know what’s going on—we’re struggling

to find the new normal for one thing—

fossil fuel oligarchies are doing all they can—

I want to know what’s going on right now

he sings into the darkness into the fog—

and the drum the piano like buoys in rough

                                    water—

right now—

3.

Summer.  They can work later in the

                                    construction

site for one

thing.  The rhododendron like that.  The

trees open more

cartons of green

leaves. The moon swims into the branches

                        like a great

whale, and we, O, we welcome how

slowly the sun slides down

although there is a kind of melancholy amongst

            the autumn

metaphors.  They read the drunken

hermit poets to each other & send them wistful

postcards—where are you?

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