Republican National Convention (A Poem)
and the Cities are bracing for the RNC
like a city in Central Asia
in the thirteenth century
awaiting the arrival of Genghis Khan.
Rumors fill the streets.
On towers and walls
people scan the plain,
looking for the first scouts
or a cloud of dust at the horizon.
Maybe it will work out.
Maybe he will leave
our fields unburnt
and our houses standing.
Surely, the merchants say,
business can be done,
even with Mongols.
But the news from other cities
is not good;
and in the market place
frightening stories change hands
like silk or lapis lazuli.
As for me, I feel a sudden affection
for all the people of my home cities:
the African American man at the bus stop
who is trying to flirt with a Hispanic,
though she won’t meet his gaze;
the woman across the aisle
with a City of Minneapolis name badge
sleeping her way to work,
while the ragged college kids next to her
talk a mile a minute and cuddle.
All of us – the guy in the Red Wings jacket
and the woman with a Hindu caste mark,
the bus driver with dangling earrings
who is probably gay --
belong here. This is our home;
and we don’t live in the thirteenth century.
The Republicans will come and go.
We will still – heaven willing –
have our ordinary lives
and our problems to solve
by working together.
I thought I ought to label the above as poetry, since it sounds rough and not entirely poetic. I need to tinker with the line breaks.
On the plus side, Rage Against the Machine are playing at the Target Center in Minneapolis during the convention; Steve Earle will be at the Labor Day Picnic at Harriet Island in St. Paul; there's going to be a nice sounding peace and justice concert at the Fitzgerald Theater in downtown St. Paul, with many local musicians; my left-of-center local coffee house is planning a two-day block party; there will be a march for peace and a march against poverty; and free bicycles will be available for use throughout the two cities.
It could be a nice week with lots of good music.