INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
Michael D. Long
Mary E. Finlan
Angry and tipsy, haunting bus stops on
Biscayne and Seventy-ninth last night
Checked out an old friend, for my wife and me had been in a fight.
"Democracy," I screamed, "Girl, where've you been? I've been searching
The city for you." "None of your damn business," she barked and tried
Her head from the drizzle coming down. "I go wherever I want cause I'm
And I do whatever I please--that's why they call me Democracy."
"That's not what I heard," I snickered. "Word is you're hard up for
You're on the prowl with your skirt between your knees. They say
Slumming, taking on help--that's why you and your sister went down on Iraq."
That's when her eyes flared. She spat on the sidewalk and arched her
"What's going on down there has nothing to do with my sister, Freedom or me!
We may be party girls, but there's some things we won't do, not even for
Or oil. But these boys, Bush and Blair, they're so afraid; they're
using our names
Like how their fathers wore out our backs! In old slavedom days, war
Their fathers' words meant something--everything was for the republic or
And if you fucked with them, they'd sail across the ocean and set your
I wouldn't buy crack from these boys! They tell lies about me, like I
can cure all
The trouble and misery that's happened in the world since Adam met his fall.
And I would say the same to you," she said. "So, please, go home now
And apologize. For what's out here on the road can cost you your
The I sobered up. For Democracy always spoke the truth. So I
forgot all my pain.
The little hurts she caused, forgave her, and drove home in the rain.
are cowards, little sister, for they've lost faith
in this rhythm that sustains us through drought
and storms, in the surety of the sun trailing
off the sofas, prickling the hairs of the Spanish
needles clinging to the umbrella tree's
bark, over the knives of the bromeliad, becoming night--
that reminds us, this earth, in time, will right herself.
Pull back, little sister,
let the bougainvillea's thorns ripen
before you rake your wrists across its stem.
Pull back, little sister, leave the image
of the girl in the shattered mirror, and follow
the woman by the door beckoning you to go deeper
into the wilderness where you are,
and where we are made whole again.
Pull back, little sister, call my name
through the darkness, for you have suffered
too long and alone; walk through these rooms,
touch my forehead and I will awaken
before the light leaves your room,
before you kill yourself.