Monday, November 4, 2013

Day of the Dead Poem for Bobby Kennedy

which bobby that bobby sitting there
next to christopher pretty boy
edge of old sagging bed
glorious threadbare star quilt
one room plank wood shack
cracked windowpanes
that bobby
pine ridge indian reservation
white world on hold
that bobby
speaking softly
pretty boy mother father mangled killed
buried at wounded knee
just three days prior
that bobby
time drifting by some say hours
speaking softly
that bobby
bewildered reporters
stranded outside with junky cars
wild horses and barking dogs
no pay phone booth
all those enthusiastic supporters
patiently waiting impatiently
in rapid city
fidgety blue-eyed campaign aids fidgeting
not allowed inside
that bobby
sitting there speaking softly
with christopher pretty boy
that bobby who once said
perhaps we cannot prevent
this world from being a world
in which children suffer
but we can reduce the number
of suffering children
that bobby
whistle stop tour across the prairie bobby
huge crowds lining rural highways
in indiana bobby
waves of students rushing knocking
over chairs grabbing ripping shirt sleeves
stealing his cufflinks in the old field house
at kansas state university bobby
screaming crowds in los angeles
mexicans on castro street holding out
plates of tortillas
scar faced black children greenville mississippi
laying on filthy mattresses
tummies bloated
merced california migrant labor camps
families huddling ten to a room fighting off night terrors rats
that bobby who in scottsbluff nebraska once said
where one of us prospers all prosper
where one of us falters all falter
that bobby laying there on the pantry floor
at the Ambassador Hotel clutching
busboy juan romero’s rosary beads
asking if everyone else was alright
dreadful june morning
my alarm clock radio woke me up
the senator is dead
i was 20 he was 43
two million people standing at attention
as bobby’s funeral train sadly clanked by
salty old veterans in eisenhower jackets
boy scouts sailors firemen saluting
little leaguers holding caps on their hearts
nuns and factory workers
sweet old black women hysterical
arms raised to the sky
brawny white men clutching tiny flags
in ham-hock hands
white policemen holding up black babies
poor white trash wiping away tears
whole families crying sobbing heaving
wide eyed school children holding signs
goodbye bobby
so-long bobby god bless bobby
simply bobby
that bobby
who once said
let us tame the savageness of man
that bobby  
who would not have bombed cambodia
no kent state no jackson state no watergate
bobby that bobby
who would rather be sitting on a worn blanket
with a heartbroken orphan
in a shack on the pine ridge
bobby that bobby
the bobby i loved

--David Bunnell,
Day of the Dead, 2013