And Now, Still

November 2015

This forthcoming collection emerges from the “end of the nuclear family,” or, less enigmatically, the respective lives and deaths of my dad, Reg Marra, Sr.,  mom, Bridget Eufemia Marra, and sister, Anne Marie Marra, and expands into a larger sense of family, purpose and perspective.

Here’s a sampling:

excerpt from Thirteen Ways of Looking at Wells Fargo

I
Among countless subprime lenders,
the only valid thing is
oh – nothing is valid.

II
I am one of millions of
taxpayers not in default
who have to help
bail out Wells Fargo.

III
Wells Fargo survives and
gives bonuses to executives.
My sister receives no bonus
or bailout. She takes too
much Cardizem and dies.

IV
The people and the government are one.
In a democratic republic kind of way.
Sort of.
The people and Wells Fargo are not one.
Fuck Wells Fargo.

V
I do not know
which to prefer, the
Wells Fargo I helped save,
or the Wells Fargo I encountered
when my sister died.
Preferring neither seems
the way to go.

VI
Tourists write policies
followed by obedient
cubicle-dwelling masses
adorned in headsets
answering 1-800 numbers
keeping shoddy records.
I repeat every detail every
time with someone
different.

VII
Oh Wells Fargo
executives in Malibu,
why do you imagine
you can party in a
foreclosed home?

VIII
Jessica, the computerized woman,
calls me more than fifty times.
She stalks me by phone.
I would like to virally violate Jessica,
and the virtual stage coach she rides in on.

__________

Worth a Shit

We take turns kissing
her goodbye at the
bedside. I’m first,
then dad, and we
walk down the hall
toward the elevators.

He steps in as the
doors slide open,
I follow, they
close, he says
If we lose her, I’m not
gonna’ be
worth a shit.

My mind races.
I put my arm around his shoulder.

Neither You’re right, you
won’t be worth a shit, nor
Sure you will—you’ll still
be worth a shit, at
the very least, seems an
appropriate response.

Our descent ends,
doors slide open, and
I remember more of
who he is—the man
the Sea Bees
and Marines called
Joker on the Gilbert and
Mariana Islands, who
somehow worked a
New York pipe wrench
through his seventy-
first year.

She’ll be fine,
I say, and you’ll always
be worth at least
a shit to me.

He almost suppresses the smile.
Says nothing. We walk to
the car. She survives him
by almost four years.
__________

(Some of) Her Own Words
– for Anne Marie –

Her thesis, QuiltSongs,
Ulterior Motifs & the
Spine of Creativity:
Patchwork Stories, Meaning
Making & Metaphor:

I’m an intuitive, non-rational,
nonlinear thinker     who
favors asymmetry
in patterns          and
landscaping,                            random
harmony in song, and

the                   unexpected
in
general. I

thrive on                                              improvisation.

Student musician singer painter quilter poet
Scrabble-player party host persona rubs up
against spouse, daughter, sister, friend,
administrative assistant shadow who yearns
for straight, fresh asphalt and double yellow
lines, within which creativity flourishes and
improvised, asymmetrical meaning is made.
__________

The Sniper

breathes deep,
slow,
squints through the
scope,
truth
in the cross-hairs,
the solution,
precisely committed
to freeing the hostage.

Last resort,
attainable horizon, not
a solution, but

the

solution when
negotiation or
hard work             fails
or        takes
too
long.

If only it were that easy,
held hostage as we are—
bliss and rage, reason
and myth,
memory,
all of them,
always them, without
which
we might see
clearly
find freedom.

Who was the
sniper for the pain
that held you hostage?

What did she see,
or not, through
that narrow scope
before she squeezed the
trigger—

another option
perhaps, just outside
her field of view,
a hair away from
your final
solution.

We all
play each role—
taker, hostage, sniper—
moment-to moment holding,
held, setting free.
Problem and solution.

We love the scope
the crosshair’s promise,
at      times
too          slow,
or quick to squeeze
the trigger, 

release

the solution’s
allure and
terror.
__________

Copyright © 2001, 2012, 2014, 2016 by Reggie Marra
All Rights Reserved

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