Common Cause by Jack Marshall
Strangers in the streets, helpless together, pool
in protest their mixed motives in common
cause, searching for work they would be grateful
for this side of bondage. This is our time, what
we mean whether we mean to
On board ship, descending a spiral
staircase, Linus Pauling thought protein
molecules might travel
the same way: spiral over a wavy base.
What arises in imagination often
answers the needs of the nation. This
is where the invisible, having gained
momentum and mass, leaves
a trace in the visible, and remains.
There’s so much else said and made of
the little that’s worth making
then vanishes, quickly aging more
than minutes, like a stuck
entry in the orbit of hours.
How often coincidence decides
our pretenses, defenses, pride’s reflecting
pool, our senses plied,
as the weight of the greater
power in the hands of a few outweighs
the power of the many to quell their hunger,
trading their lives to the ones who already
own their breath and home and bread,
who own the real estate of the streets
run by police, who own the bullets.
This place money built, keeping count
of what you owe until you forget
payment is this wanting to live
with all that it takes to keep awake.
Take it, or leave
in the moment you discover
you’re here, and not only here,
but still here.
Don’t believe that intense physical pain
would not make you
fold like a napkin.
the legend you’ll become
after you leave.