By Joseph Kushner

A month passed.

The chamber of conscience closed.

I pull off the blacktop into the Hardroll Café.

I should have expected.

The décor has shifted.

The tablecloths have turned.

The bands of black, the fine lines of white and yellow, are gone. Halftone red bands cross on white, forming solid red hearts within flecks of red scattered through the white corner patches. The white lines, even those fairly drawn, did not hold the weave. The yellow line, through finding center, did not sufficiently compel the conscience. The black bands, through broad shouldered, have dropped into negative space, contemplating a reemergence into the next paradigm.

Playing the cloth as it lays: the native color predominates. This is the Red land scoured by a white tide that celebrates its productivity while gnawing ever closer to the bone-white consummation that waits beneath the red dust.

These tablecloths wash but don't shrink from the issues on the table. These colors don't run.

Whomever will be reconciled between these seas will be reconciled under the native red heart of the rising turtle, sloughing off all foreign ideologies, all imported blessings. They have their place, may they return and fare well there. Whoever may fare well here, let them seek reconciliation with the presiding Red Heart. May they kiss many turtles and find their prince.

Let those who seek other lips depart in peace with blessings. Let the Washingtons and Jeffersons and their train return to their white cliffs with their fine democratic constitutional innovations. Let the Bushes and Schwartzkoffs return to the Rhine with compassionate conservatism warm in their hearts. Let the potato grow for the Rus and the Eire. Let the Maize rise in Africa and China. No one should go away poorer than they came. It would be impossible. Asia's traders may come with the beads of silicon that remember songs. They wear well on our bead belts.

In a recent year Mexico regained its former millions.

In a recent year the count of native Hawaiians has returned.

In a recent year the Caribbean has lifted up its lost numbers.

Let the exchange of gifts brought be judged equitable to what was taken, like a happy fusing and dividing of DNA. As pilgrims travel to receive a sanctification and return home, so Europeans who jumped on the turtle's back to fulfill some potential or resolve a dilemma of European society may soon return with that fulfillment, that resolution.

The double naught census has reported; the largest group of Americans, termed Hispanics, are not from España or any other Latin port.

They are Caribbean, they are Mexican, and, if a space had been provided, would have professed to answer: we are Taino, we are Azteca, we have always been here on the turtle's back.

Did you think we would fade away or the color of the land would fade from us or the land would yield up its last drops and offer its bones to be gnawed?

As the tablecloths indicate, this land will not resolve in any spectral band except its own. The tablecloths have turned, the faint pretense of the census - that Caribbeans and Aztecas are Hispanic fails. They are native with small sympathy and less relation to the conquistadors. Surprise, we are not exterminated. Our memories did not burn with our cities and libraries (although our memories burn). Our genes have not washed out of the pool. We are the pool's depth.

We recollect, reassemble. The land repopulates on its own terms. The libraries reconstruct from a concordance of computer-scanned shards.

This old shell back shall not be another later England or España or France.

It is possible that the right of conquest will fail, that Monroe's Doctrine will send Monroe packing.

It is possible that the contents will not be subducted to replenish the war chests of Europe's principalities. It is possible that all shall not be gnawed to the bone. Shall not be consummated in white, but in r ed.

This tablecloth resolves in native shades; liberal friendly hospitable, welcoming of refugees; trading fairly with travelers; a different set of viable laws from those which will serve, may they serve well England or Spain or France, lands which now dwell peaceably under NATO occupation.

Arising from the banded cloth with servings of corn and chocolate; tobacco smoke rises to meet sik kar wavers and pipe holders of worlds standing on backs of worlds in time pyramids of turtles.

The blacktop state highway warms to red-toned clay. The native road opens, welcoming all travelers, it's drum song encouraging blood's journey from the clay, the breath of ancestral pipes.

*This poem is Part II to "George Bush vs. the Palm Beach Canvassing Board".

[Questions? Email bram @ netstep dot net]