America First

Beyond the well, along the dusty road,

America first,

the acrid, rust-red soil supporting

only an occasional small vineyard, they strolled

house to house, executing families.


We heard a great noise and were all enveloped

in a wall of heat and steam, as concrete

balconies crashed into parked cars, an officer

lowered a plastic bag over her head while

another ground a lit cigarette into her arm,

America first.


The melting snow, semi-translucent

and shining in the lantern glow,

seemed to be carved out of a block of amber.

We worked our way back, following

a little creek, sucking on

twigs of sassafras and radiant sunshine

until, fringed by majestic pines,

we reached the canyon edge

and lit the sacred fire.


Although the time scale was so vast and

the abuse of evidence so complete as to render

it unlikely, the flutes and rattles summoned

a universal healing.


It was the moment of return,

the ancient languages, long declared extinct

by the experts, springing suddenly back to life,

America first.

All we had were elders, drums, spirits,

and what they told us.

John Curl


American Eagle


American eagle soars above

the crater of the old volcano,

abandoned prayers

nebulous hypocrisy clouds

morning dew apologies privatizing

water, sailors in makeup, apparently

on orders from the city

manager, ransacked the branch

library and an adjoining nursery

school, crashed burning taxis into

stores, car alarms blaring for hours set

off by the blast.  Investigators are

trying to reconstruct

the chain of events.

The remarkable irony, especially

in view of their bizarre reproductive

habits, is that they are no longer even

curious about it.


At the bottom of a

sunken road with high sandy

banks tunneled by earthworms,

minor prophets wave burned-out candles,

rusted egrets and weather cocks

tranquilly balance racoons chewing

hibiscus buds, hopeful erotic swans

healing harmonies scattered

one by one like cattails

over the vast expanse of ground.


American eagle soars above

the crater of the old volcano, gazing into

the caldera and dreams

of restoring the waters.

John Curl

Copyright © 2012 by John Curl. All rights reserved.