n e v e r
B E T S Y A N D R E W S
"Time is lost, which never will renew."
"A braver never drew a sword. A wiser, never."
"If I were an American, I never would lay down my arms, never, never, never."
"Could such things be tolerated in a Christian land? Never!"
"This almost caused Jemima to faint with terror. Well, I never, she said."
"I never, protested Dickly stoutly."
"I never, never!! he declared more emphatically."
"A booby trap. I never! Mervyn burst out. My God, I swear, I never."
"There’s a fellow got a gun—a pistol. Never!"
"Never, it is rightly said, is a long day."
The end of the day. So it would seem. Signal tapering out and in on
the telephone call at the oddest hour. It is always morning somewhere.
It is never everywhere night.
Here the never-constant moon on the never-tracked white
of the never-trodden snow pours the never-broken secrecies of sky, pours light
into the hollow arms of six-rayed stars, crystalline, wound tight
around air, the never-never sight the living here
barely reflect upon. Hexagon and hexagon and hexagon and
hexagon falling on our brownstone roofs, falling on the Pentagon,
Shiva of the fractured air, moon in his hair,
refracting love, want, desire, passion, hunger, hate,
refracting car, house, office, bank, market, prison gate.
This Neverland, one’s fate to be American
already late in the just-arrived newness of this new date on earth,
as the ever-coming, never-come dawn comes on.
In another place, the othered place,
where men tramp the never-less-than distances of sunburnt tracks
through high-grained heads of grasses, the neverfail, the spinifex,
a body lies in state. Where 14 million citizens and 40 million guns,
point blank’s an easy paradox, the never in nevertheless.
Where civil war battlefields don’t come padded in parking lots,
gift shops, snack bars, comfort stations, handicap ramps,
there the land mines, Scud missiles, loaded American arms
are paid for on the never-never, the never-ending interest a people
at each other’s throats, profit(prophet) anyway you spell it at a never-ceasing cost.
Here Shiva dances, blotting out the polished canons, blotting historical signs
and the long-distance call that brings the long age of longing ends in snow on the line.
"Let us make the never the less of it, nor be discouraged."
"That never to be sufficiently regretted step of leaving the house."
"Some vigorous effort, though it carried never so much danger, ought to be made."
"There is never a one of you but hath a Publique Place."
for Lisa and in memoriam: Jarallah Omar, deputy secretary general of the Yemeni Socialist Party, assassinated 11:30 AM, December 28, 2002, Sana’a, Yemen