White Petals

By Tim Dlugos 1950–1990 Tim Dlugos

The Republic lies in the blossoms of Washington.  —Robert Bly

White petals
drop into the dark river.
Heedless of political significance,
they ride out to the sea like stars.
I'm the space explorer.
I travel to a planet
where there are no plants or animals.
Everyone lives in harmony.
I don't want to go home.
I'm the pioneer man and the pioneer woman,
both at the same time.
I build my house with my own hands,
and it's beautiful,
with simple, perfect lines.
I'm the farmer waiting for the vegetables
to grow, so I can eat.
I'm the hunter aiming at the bear.
I don't want to shoot it, but my family needs meat.
The bear gives me a long dumb animal look.
We'll use his skin for blankets,
his fat to light our lamps.
Our cabin will stink all night.
I'm the cabin boy who graduates to captain.
Shipboard sex is rough, but it suits my taste.
I'm the man on the steps of the house
where the President's widow lives.
All night I wait for the stranger
to get out of his car
so I can flash my look of recognition.
I'm the cowpoke who sleeps with his horses.
I'm the man who loves dogs.
I'm the cranky President sneaking away
to swim in the Potomac.
I'm the black man.
I close my eyes
and it gets dark inside.
I feel the sun on my face.
I see the light through my eyelids.
It's bright, intelligent
free of all cares.
I'm the heir of a great American family.
My success is guaranteed.
Unexpected tragedy is all that can stop me.
I'm the popular senator teaching his son to shave.

Tim Dlugos, "White Petals" from A Fast Life: The Collected Poems of Tim Dlugos. Copyright © 2011 by Tim Dlugos.  Reprinted by permission of Nightboat Books.

Source: A Fast Life: The Collected Poems of Tim Dlugos (Nightboat Books, 2011)

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Poet Tim Dlugos 1950–1990

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Living, Life Choices, The Mind, Activities, Jobs & Working, Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

Poetic Terms Persona

 Tim  Dlugos


Poet Tim Dlugos was born in Springfield, Massachusetts and grew up in Arlington, Virginia. From 1968 to 1970, he was a Christian Brother at LaSalle College in Philadelphia. He left LaSalle and moved to Washington, DC, where he participated in the Mass Transit poetry readings. In the late 1970s, he moved to New York City and was active in the Lower East Side literary scene, where he was a contributing editor to Christopher Street . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Life Choices, The Mind, Activities, Jobs & Working, Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Persona

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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