Bruce Bond Manifesto

Dear History, you who are my first

thought each morning, my last each night,

my unmarked grave,

and though we’ve never met,

I’ve read your letters over and over,

until they became, in time, the ghost

whose imagined

figure is everywhere I

am and am not yet. All at once.

And the more I read, the more

I leave my body

to break down at the walls

of holy city after city,

name after name of those who fell there,

none of whom

are you. Dear History,

I confess, I am beginning

to lose faith in the old gods,

in the word’s

power to fathom the human

face. I keep thinking of the movie

where they bring a severed head to life.

I see the torso

who kills to repossess it.

If a torso can be serious

a moment, it would tell you this.

What I see,

grieve, talk to in dreams,

appears as such in a distant mind.

But in the movie it says nothing,

like a broken

nation that has no mouth.

Life, we know, does not return.

Only the word life whose meaning

leaves a body

helpless, heartless, dead.

Only a head whose torso is out there,

lonely, scared. If a zombie can be


it would sit down with us

and confess what hunger does

when the soul is elsewhere in

another movie.

Dear History, I am afraid

of my country, though I know

the word is made of many heads,

many of whom

are severed. When asked how

history would judge, my president

replied: History. We won’t know.

We’ll all be dead.

And the awkward silence said,

we’ll all be headless, heedless.

We, as one, will be the many

ships on a stone cold

sea, thrashing in the dark.

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