Amber McBride

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FOR THE FIREBIRD GENERATION

We are the bright red firebirds
of the millennium we set ourselves ablaze
to light the dark places, sharp-edged
and difficult to touch places.

We drive our cars half smoked cig in hand
off the edge of the world. We are the
Patron Saints of lost causes, content
to build twenty new shores instead of one.
My Lord we came with good intentions.

We say slow and steady wins the race
with Mary J growing from our finger tips
we kiss the hot lips of disaster,
hovering like hummingbirds towards everything bright.

We say that hope is a changing color and change
comes with brutish force childlike wonder and speed.
We are the doves you mistake
for crows. We are lions of peace.

We are the bomb in the backseat
we are engulfed by the explosion.

We have been careless with our words
writing things we should not.
We drink everything except for the blood,
we eat everything except for the body
and we paint parts Jerusalem on our bedroom walls
next to the lights of Amsterdam.

We are the best music that falls around you
colorful and utterly confused. We are Mama
would you love me if I were a wolf?

We are moved by the history of colors
the reds, the blues and the music they make
at night in dark alleys and symphony halls.

We are the things we carry with us:
the children who howl at the moon.

We are Pollock in violent motion—
Whitman’s untranslatables.
First published in Gardy Loo (2010)

Amber McBride has an MFA in poetry from Emerson College. Her poems have appeared in several journals including Ploughshares, Provincetown Arts, and Barehands Poetry. She is certain that mermaids are real—maybe, yes?

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