Baltimore IMC :
Baltimore IMC

LOCAL Commentary :: Activism : Baltimore MD : History : Protest Activity : War in Iraq

Riding to the Anti-War March, New York City, March 20, 2004

From beneath earth’s eastern curve, two rays—
one flat pink and one a higher, wider band of yellow—
cross the blue-awakening sky. They soar through the reconstituting blue
as people mill outside a dusty, Baltimore meeting hall
waiting for two buses to carry us all
from under this cold canvas of light.
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In the highway ducts
of New Jersey, below a blue
large as a celestial fingertip, we drive past
webs of steamy electrical works, a stream’s trickle
through mustard-yellow grass, pass
a metal bridge, dip through marsh
that ferments beneath a vast grid of pipes;
all under a sky unique and tranquil
like any other day—
the world must change.

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This road again, and my life
scaffolded in order to craft
the third rung of a ladder
I construct so I can climb.
Ahead: Manhattan’s skyline.
Alongside: Yellow-blue smog hovers over
octopi-shaped electrical generators; and here comes
a hill of houses, a steeple, what looks like mounds of garbage,
before we edge through a tollbooth, and the sun-brightened chill
ripens toward noon.

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Deja vu against a window—
for a year ago I came here to march
against a nascent war, now launched.
So the world’s river bucked, and now
the sun pinches like a decision
that will make the earth shudder
before being absorbed and merged
as future birds gather on a dusty riverbed
none have seen run for a thousand years.

Our bus descends into the Lincoln Tunnel
as white clouds meld themselves into patches of blue:
twisting above, ribboning to white threads, mixing with blue,
dissipating beneath the sunblast.
The bus slips below, disappearing
into the tunnel’s open mouth, and then
we rise in Manhattan
to chant our voices to be heard.

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In a rented room
a couple works
toward permanence.

On the street our dawn
goodbyes rise over cars
not to be divided.

In London,
two people scale Big Ben and hoist a banner:
“Time for Truth.”

I blow on a cup of coffee,
last Saturday morning. I’m looking inside,
constructing a way.

When we hold hands, will we
become a photograph, or
a new nexus?

At the march: A blur of silk and brass
Korean peace dancers spiral
around gongs and drums, as pink and black
radical cheerleaders
rewrite chants for a sailed-for dawn, while gray
paperheads from Guernica
nailed to sticks
sail above the crowd to the tune
of an eight-piece Dixieland brass-band, which incites
boogie-woogie. The band drops back, docks
on the sidewalk, circling
a flock of listeners and dancers; a coronet’s crescendo
fades behind
the crowd’s tide
flashing forward. The day
folds into a core
small as a far-off star
and explodes
in a brief light-trail:
a comet’s tail
speckled with each of us.

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