February 19, 2008

I love them hot nights when a T-shirt feels right

Blinky Palermo, Rot/Rosa (Red/Pink), 1966–67

-- by Robert Creeley

As I was walking
I came upon
chance walking
the same road upon.

As I sat down
by chance to move
if and as I might,

light the wood was,
light and green,
and what I saw
before I had not seen.

It was a lady
by goat men
leading her.

Her hair held earth.
Her eyes were dark.
A double flute
made her move.

"O love,
where are you
me now?"

Country-Western Singer
-- by Alan Shapiro

I used to feel like a new man
After the day's first brew.
But then the new man I became
Would need a tall one too.
As would the new man he became,
And the new one after him,
And so on and so forth till the new men made
The dizzy room go dim.
And each one said, I'll be your muse,
I'll trade you song for beer.
He said, I'll be your salt lick, honey,
If you will be my deer.
He said, I'll be your happy hour,
And you, boy, you'll be mine.
And mine won't end at six or seven
Or even at closing time.
Yes, son, I'll be your spirit guide,
I'll lead you to Absolut,
To Dewar's, Bushmills, and Jamison,
Then down to Old Tanglefoot.
And there I'll drain the pretense from you
That propped you up so high;
I'll teach you how salvation's just
Salivation without the I.
To hear his sweet talk was to think
You'd gone from rags to riches,
Till going from drink to drink became
Like going from hags to bitches,
Like going from bed to barroom stool,
From stool to bathroom stall,
From stall to sink, from sink to stool,
From stool to hospital.
The monitors beep like pinball machines,
And coldly the IV drips,
And a nurse runs a moistened washcloth over
My parched and bleeding lips.
And the blood I taste, the blood I swallow
Is as far away from wine
As 5:10 is for the one who dies
At 5:09.

American History
-- by Michael S. Harper

Those four black girls blown up
in that Alabama church
remind me of five hundred
middle passage blacks,
in a net, under water
in Charleston harbor
so redcoats wouldn't find them.
Can't find what you can't see
can you?


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