Capitol Street Pulse

I’ve been here an hour and haven’t seen his pitch work. “Donate for Street Pulse?” in a major arpeggio and then “have a nice day” back down on the black keys.
My friend’s friend’s dead uncle, Woody Guthrie, might be patron saint of the scene: three acoustic guitarists variously perched, girl in a sequined tracksuit spinning on roller skates.
On the capitol lawn, someone’s barking loudly into the rotunda, though I think he only wants to hear the sound, not advocate for any cause.
Yesterday, police used bullhorn threats to clear a protest against police violence. The governor says he’ll print the names of anyone involved, but it’s okay:
practically everyone’s on the list. Lately in my bones I can feel tiny protestors slowing the flow of oxygenated blood—this tissue warrants no supply! this tissue warrants no supply!
Not enough little bubbles are clearing customs, and my eyelids, murderous most recently of spinach, have begun to flutter and twitch.  Beautiful
day for the Catholics picketing the nearby hospital against abortion, while recent internet searching shows nineteen open cases of child abuse against local clergy.
I almost succeed in not thinking, “it’s like they want to keep the fetuses alive so the priests can rape them later,” but not quite. I guess this is the everyday horror of thought.
At the next table, three engineering students use their big brains to sketch the circuitry of sunglasses that will project holographic movie clips in the air around our heads.
We’ll buy scenes like ringtones and illuminate ourselves with Hollywood. I’d buy the guy holding his baby in the rain shouting Good luck exploring the infinite abyss!
Street Pulse features reports and opinions on private Mars colonies with an illustration of caravans on a dusty red road exchanging cargo pants for onions. Like anyone, I’m hoping
we’ll get behind peace and love before we colonize the solar system, but I’m still noticing people’s bodies more than their sense of responsible citizenship.
Maybe it’s easier to believe in the enduring virtues of the glute rounding up from the hamstring than the Jeffersonian column in the floodlight at dusk.
On cue a jogger passes with PINK on her butt, and here’s a painting of a Dodo in a tilting frame. Google Conquers Death is the title on the next table. Somewhere in Texas
a mad billionaire schemes to start it all up again on a brand new planet, but I’m just bussing my cup and leaving Street Pulse behind. On my way to the bus stop, I wonder
if a distant descendant will someday hover over this rubble, detect and uncover the digital time capsule hologram we’ve left to run on solar in the ruined rotunda.
Good luck exploring   —  //  *  Good luck.

Originally published in American Poetry Review. Copyright © William Stobb. Used with the permission of the poet.