Probation Poem 10-17-17….Kissing

I lean against the wall

inside the probation office.

Joint is packed.

Reprobates are jacked.

I read Walt Whitman

at random,

waiting for a form

to set me free.

It’s come to that:

a form for freedom

in a democracy.

Can you believe

they want it in longhand?

I look to my right:

Two couples

make out

before their

meetings and UAs,

wearing her Pink sweatpants,

his black hoodies,

both clutching phones.

Nothing surprises

me in here,

not the sparkled jeans

nor the man reading Macbeth,

not the dog food coupons,

nor the reek of fish.

Okay, this making out does,

these two couples!

It’s like that poem,

“Kissing,” by Dorianne Luax.

Kissing is sometimes

all we have

to stave off extinction,

to undermine Stalin,

to hang from

a thread over the abyss.

Laux writes:

They are kissing
to begin the world again. Nothing
can stop them…

they are doing what they have to do
to survive the worst

It’s the one human act

they can’t take from us.

Even in here:

florescent lights,

plastic chairs,

gray carpet.

It’s an act of

secret rebellion,

or smack dab

in the open,

face to face,

in our faceless times,

not a reckoning,

but a puckering.

I read another line from Walt.

Walt writes a lot about kissing

but never uses the word.

I watch the couples,

the two women

angled toward me,

their eyes are closed.

One has her feet,

out of flip flops.

She is barefoot

and kissing

in the probation office,

and I am no poet

if I don’t write

a poem with that image.

Because it is

a unique image

in the annals

of American literature

and I will take that.

It’s free.

It might even set me free.

A woman emerges

from behind the glass,

long blonde hair,

on taxpayer’s time.

She looks at me,

smiles, turns my way.

We knew each other,

in my other life.

We almost dated.

We would have kissed.

She asks me

how I’m doing.

I show her the cover

of Leaves of Grass,

she nods,

and walks out the door.

One couple has stopped

making out.

The other has not.

I return to Walt.

He’s in love with

democracy now.

No American poet

writes about a love for

democracy anymore.

But more kissing

might help us survive it.

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