“Marc”

 

Marc wears a pink neckerchief.

He’s walking his Basset Hound Billy

along Ninth Avenue.

In 1968 Marc entered Iowa’s MFA program but

left to join Students for Democratic Society.

He’d attended one class taught by Richard

Yates. Then he quit.

If asked, Marc will describe the thrills

of those years. He traveled a lot –

Berkeley, Madison, Mexico.

Once, hitchhiking through Guatemala, he

ate fresh tortillas y friijoles

with the man who picked him up.

The guy kept steaming bowls in the backseat.

Somehow beans got baked into

bread. When another car appeared, this man

would pull to the edge of a mountain road.

The oncoming car would pause and

both drivers discussed local vegetable markets

(their vehicles almost touching on the narrow

path). That custom pleased Marc.

More tortillas were brought out. After

a while the man dropped Marc beside two

reed houses – just two small Mayan

homes on his left, with dense forest on the right.

Marc saw nobody. Birds darted; dusk

spread. Strange insects clicked. He knew night

would fall, that day would come,

but that was all he knew.

 

* Based on a spontaneous sidewalk dialogue following the $700,000,000,000 bank bailout of 2008. Marc’s hope for nationwide resistance – some return to SDS’s early days – prompted these youthful memories. Three years later I saw him and Billy cross the Brooklyn Bridge during an OWS solidarity march. I tried to get Marc’s attention, but the human sea was too vocal, too thick. This poem is dedicated to him.      

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