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Clade Song 4

Where Did All Those Clothes Go We Wore For The Bicentennial
“We Are Doomed,” the advertisement reads on this website
that I didn’t click on.  So the crowd goes past, toward extinction—
if I can imagine myself a crowd—as the scary dude in the
sandwich-board advertisement paces.  We are doomed, sure enough,
but I’m not quite doomed enough this morning to investigate
the humorous foot-in-the-door that was going to follow my doom
with a sales pitch.  Doom, the unimaginable, is a light that turns out,
leaving me, or me leaving it, or joining it, or whatever it is
that we’ll never figure out.  Related note: a guy in England is saying
it’ll all be over by 2050, that we’re too far gone to save ourselves now.
And then what?  What are we supposed to tell the kids?  Um,
whoops?  Don’t move to the coast?  So, a friend of mine walks
into the office while I’m typing this and asks me, “In the American
Idol analogy, are you a Simon or a Paula?” imagining the future of style
as an argument from illusion, where there are things about this world
that we say are reality but are in fact mere appearance.  Or at least
that’s how I tried to reply, though it came out more as “what about
Randy?”  Then it’s back to the email, where it’s the “Did I leave my jacket
at your place?” subject line that you open, and of course it’s followed
with “I’ve never actually been to your place, but I have this great offer,
where you can feed the world for 25 cents a day,” or something like that.
Attention shoppers!  Or smoke ’em while you’ve got ’em.  It’s
December 7th, Friday, and 71 years ago today, my uncle, Warren Johnson
was busy surviving the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor from aboard
the battleship USS Tennessee.  I never heard him speak of it, and then
he died in 1977 when his tractor rolled on top of him, impaling him
on the gear shift.  He was a good-looking man.  A movie-set
farmer type.  Good bones. I’ve always been intrigued by the phrase
“May he/she rest in peace,” that they trot out at such times
as these.  It sounds like such a good idea, but the best things, the things
I’d wish for someone if I were creating a perfect outcome, a perfect
afterlife, would be much more active.  “May you have interesting projects!”
maybe, or “May you get a long telescope so you can keep track of all
the goings on.”  He roasted a pig once, 1976, I believe.  It was the
Bicentennial summer.  He had one year to go.  My family, my nuclear
family, the four of us, flew in in a four passenger Cessna, my father
landing on the long dirt farm driveway, chickens running in every direction.  
People, a hundred or more, moving like a wave across the lawn.  



john gallaher John Gallaher is author of three books of poetry, Gentlemen in Turbans, Ladies in Cauls; The Little Book of Guesses, winner of the Levis Poetry Prize from Four Way Books; and Map of the Folded World, and the co-author with G.C. Waldrep of Your Father on the Train of Ghosts. His new book In a Landscape will be published by BOA in 2014. His free online chapbook Guidebook is available from Blue Hour Press. An assistant professor of English at Northwest Missouri State University, he is co-editor of The Laurel Review and Green Tower Press.