Mary Jo Bang
U As In Futile Pursuit
Freud lists twenty incidences
Of the word “umbrella,” each a different shade
Of yes—and no. You of the dreamworld,
The daydream, the rainy day.
The dream store is closed but I’m sold an umbrella anyway.
It’s very expensive. Very dear. Very difficult.
How difficult, that history drags behind the wind
And bends in the wind, unlike the hero’s priapic sword.
Unlike the tree trunk evidence of here it once stood.
The U-turn pans, the camera records
The vista and shores up memory’s fading underpinnings.
The punishing switch
Of hell and high water on those who sit
In the prison. A fist writes its own rules.
Smoke rises from Dante’s nine-layer hell.
How expedient is a single belief in the tilting crown
Around the head of a legend.
Or the imposition of the architect
On a house he’s never been in. Climb up the ladder
And what do you see? The useless truth
In a grim reaper costume. This from one under an umbrella.