The Noble Dream house

small houses tucked tightly
together with flags, big trucks
    giving me a friendly hello
    as I walk past children
playing in tiny yards shared
with neighbor yards and dog
barks trotting to and fro

the handsome man and son
on stilts with tools erecting tall
wooden fences looks down saying
“how's it going?” seeing semper fi
stickers on cars, trucks and homes

“hi” I say moving past a broken boat
paint chipped and weathered time
a mom chasing the screaming pink
ribboned floppy head of curls dog
bark with cars jacked up in grease
garage music motivating beers, caps
gasoline smells on wind with ribs
cooking on fire and roar of an engine
blasting to life with guttural cheers.

I walked far down through the new
tall boxed houses and their nice big
SUV's to get here, back in time to
reach the working class of grunts
whose decks and garage doors I
knew familiar as countless childhood
walks and rides through this same space
familiar as each turn in each paved path
the familiar houses filled with new
flesh on each familiar path, to know
the structures where strangers now live
each day of semper fi and flags, cracked
paint, the uniform sitting on the gold
couch through a picture window, behind
the carpeted cat climbing tree and dinner
their home cooked hamburger smell
somehow hitting hard like love can root

    and cry?

Ridiculous in the vicinity of faithful
like a breeze, raising the dead, in the center
of a nursery rhyme keg party where automatic
children, grown and raised on new heights
slide down, along the arms of a proud embrace

And me, in a crumbly dome, watching memory
through the sharp point of lives grabbed on
the stumbling grasps of what might be in
each house on these Suncrest streets, raised
in the odd manner which consumes itself
    little suns devoid of day
little suns in the yard that might not drop
to land upon the rails, driven east to claim
their fill: semper fidelis res mercatoris!

the simple flag unfurled the mind
and held it one by one, contented
flesh with a heart stopped strong
in the West, while setting, along

all the day I walked on mounds remembering
how this was, and is. and loved the box on
every plot save one where nothing lives
surmountable I called it, with a tricycle
by my side, and colored ribbons flashing
down besides the cement skies. surmountable
I called it on the breeze the dog breathed in
and fell in deeper wells of grief and loved
more than I lived. and loved the truck
with growing moss and grass astride its wheels,
the house of blue on brown-lined streets
    and the tall tree hung with mirrors
    flashing light that no one broke

You houses, you man in there, you woman
who come what may – you history! dream
and sullen stance alit along your way, bend
your ground to reigning winds and gather up
your days and give them all to flags and pens
then wish the night away. then wish your children
tall and strong to tower o're the world with
God to judge the righteous might instilled
in one by one. in one, by one, the ribbons fall
in colors round each sight while quiet still
the war inside, with little left to kill

protect me not from what is there but save me
from within; for love with grief grows bitter claws
that shred from outside in. and outside here
the wars begin before a shot is fired, poised
as uranium, balanced like books, on a ledge
between words and what is.

how I know
  what you feel
standing, talking
  to me standing
firm in the dreams we all share
but never a word driving back
to the world with innocent
truths revealed. but flags,
blowing on ways up top
wherever the foodpads may land
explains the silence you felt just then
when all I could do was stand

a smile not from a perch more tall
nor a bothersome way to move on,
but a gift that heard what you could not say
as your wondrous face blathered on.
a gift of nothing to have or hold,
like the mist of a spirit once known
    which called from afar, behind
    unremarked
in the grandeur of all that is small