the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night




George Wallace

Until Trees Grow Where Apples Fall

until trees grow where apples fall
they will stick tubes and needles into our
veins. they will come20around & they
will prop us up. they're not allowed to
leave us for dead & they know it.
they can't leave us lying around, that's
natural law. it's against the rules.
this world is american as apple pie &
it always will be. until trees grow
where apples fall. & that ain't happening
any time soon. we're humans we're
better than that. we clean up after ourselves.
even after a war. but like stafford says,
people are like birds. we can't help flapping
our wings & crowing about the most
recent slaughter. it really is a damn shame &
it happens every day. street fights &
accidents. foreign oil. right now, for example,
right outside my window. two bluejays
are screaming absolute bloody murder at
each other. holy hell those birds! anyhow
what i like about this hospital is it's better than
the last one they had me in. here at least
i can turn the tv on & off or change
the channel from bed. look, what's on now?
a man in a suit who lives on the flat screen.
he's angry, he's shouting about something. no it's
not the news it's basketball. some guy
with the lakers has just missed an
easy jump shot. the lakers coach
is ready to hang him up by his sneakers.
i prefer that over listening to
those fucking birds.


The Hard Stuff

darling when you are done reading
your book or watching public tv let's
break open the hard stuff what could
it hurt if i loved you just once like this
with both your elbows tucked to your
sides like a remorseless angel — what
could it hurt if i loved you in black &
white, with your fingers open wide with
your eyes locked shut or with one wrist
shackled to mine like a dangerous criminal
who's been apprehended by the authorities after
a long hard chase through central europe & the french
alps — & now there's just you & me in the
final scene wearing the same pair of
handcuffs on a slowly moving train.



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