Sandy Rankin

This Time Be-Dazzle


Remember when the world was young?  
Adults were terribly wrong: 
imaginary playmates would not do at all 
for child-dreamers who knew 
the in-visible world was visible 
in everything that we touched. 
The future came to us in the present: 
dazzling as the letter "S" spontaneously scribbled 
by some happy spirit-sprite 
who wanted us to know this alphabet 
could invoke a world of quotidian magic, 
much better than a world of ridiculous soup
poured from a mass-produced can.  

If a single letter could glitter like that 
(inscribed in the bark of a tree)
what could a word-world of letters do? 
We didn't know. 
We knew that "S" opened
into a world that meant something more, 
and more than something, 
more than we  could imagine at that time.
But we loved that letter "S" 
for how it sounded, soft and true, 
for the secrets it suggested 
could one-day-be-said in our future.  

This time the letter "C" calls to us as well.  
Never mind why "C" suddenly comes, 
now that we are as old as yesterday's parents. 
This isn't a lesson on Sesame Street. 
Forget about the cookies
(we who were lucky enough to eat
our cookies while other siblings moaned
and groaned in a world of lack
and curses). This is a lesson about change. 
Change your life
, Rimbaud said.
Or, fail, fail again, fail better,
"C" said, and, more more to come
The world is always young unless we die
and take the earth with us, no more letters
left to read or write or hear or sound out 
(inscribed in the bark of a tree),
no more change except the change of coins 
snatched from between our teeth 
in our collective world-apocalyptic grave.  

The in-visible world opens two ways. 
I hope we've learned something since the days 
when the world for us was young. 
One way: the nightmare that divides
into the boredom of repetitive nothing-but-cruelty 
(I'll take me and mine, all mine, 
too bad for you and them). 
Another way: the dazzling dream we once called 
The letter "S" and the letter "C": 
nothing but ink-on-paper-sound-and-fury, 
we could say, signifying nothing 
but a cracked code of invisible blood
(people slaughtered, people cringing 
with fear) on our soul-less hands.
The nay-sayers are already damned. 
The yea-sayers are open to open wide.  

And so I wait for the one letter from the one
I'm yet to meet. The old world exploded 
when he licked the stamp. I heard his tongue
say soul when he licked it and liked it.
The letter—stamped alpha/omega—arrived today.
This is the letter that chimes with justice,
jump-start, jelly-belly, jasper, joan-          
of-arc, jesus, jane, st. john: I come.
This is the letter already waiting in my hands
trembling the trebly triumphant praise.