To Give a Damn

 

 

I.

from someone else’s mind
I gathered image word
and feeling meaning

it sorted to my brain
somewhere in a neuron
synapse cell to cell

I hear him say it …
that Rhett Butler voice …
that cocksure gaze …

brilliant framing of the
door between his worlds

at the turning point
he didn’t give a damn

about her

flawless timing  … always
absolutely perfect for
remembering of know

 

II.

Giles from Salem
beat someone’s heart
to stopping … damn you
Giles from Salem

old Giles from Salem
they witch hung his love wife
for mumbling in a corner

cried him out for wizard
to claim the family land
if he, innocent,  confessed

plank and boulder pressed him
rigid … Puritan … earth
three days to eye bulge, tongue loll

“Confess you are a witch!”  they shouted
one on the plank to crush his heart

“More weight … more weight.”  his dying words
damn them, Giles from Salem

 

III.

in the revealing black and white of it
The public doesn’t give a damn about integrity.
A town that won’t defend itself
deserves no help.
Lon Cheney’s  jaded sheriff lines, High Noon

Katy Jurado tells Lloyd Bridges
And, it takes more than big broad shoulders
to make a man.
she is a survival realist
leaves on the high noon train

before she leaves she talks with Cooper
Jurado: Kane, if you’re smart, you will get out, too.
Cooper: I can’t.
Jurado: I know

 

Bonnie Marshall
artist unknown

All Manner of Things

 

as needful to our being,
we partake of the essential
nourishment of air and water
and swallowing of bread and milk
and savoring of salt

we endure the sufferance
of idle conversation dispersed to nothing
(god, keep me from the spider’s web)
and abide time’s slide to otherness

so that if and when our worlds disperse
in gravity of a quasar blasting passion
and firm new courses in existence
frighten us with strangeness

then we shall hold to knowing
that breath means life
and water is abundant absolution
and bread and milk are nurturing
and salt … is preserving certainty
of  friendship … wisdom … love

Bonnie Marshall

Art by Pieter Claesz, 1644