#king, rodney g,
#victims of violent crimes,
#african american men,
#the 20th century,
sometimes I make the same mistakes again and again
let the poor bastards down, get sick, starve, drown
in the end, in a pool, in Rialto, Sunday afternoon
the toll is obvious
beatings help America focus: contented, sober and engaged
coming to grips with that night in 1991 of driving while black
mangled hands tell a different story
this is a work in progress
a contrast to the scared man and fires some 20 years back
to crowd-control using three-foot-clubs attached to leather straps
there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free
asked what he’d like on his headstone, he replies: “Can we all just get along?
Can we all get along in peace?”
all of you are one, He says, in a terrible chaos withstanding
as everybody turned away from his fellow man
Is God the God of Jews only?
Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too.
You never sleep right the first night
in a new town
in a new room
in an unfamiliar bed, in hotel rooms, in the light and after drinking
it would be exciting I think, meeting
just like that, pretending it was just by chance
such a small world, Ill say
over the swirl of ice chips dissolving. it’s a new night
and we’re anything
Cambridge was nothing as I’d pictured it
middle aged and taking whiskey in dark denim and ballcaps in a bar that reminds me of Oregon
the cobblestones waving back like wheat fields through the shuttered windows and brown bottles confessing
I’ve crashed this car before
touring grave sights in the rain I’m reminded how very little has changed
for the dead
in new towns
in new beds
in the rain in Boston
by ROBERT PINSKY
The President and his opponent are both speaking in Ohio.
Both opposing speeches will be about the economy
The Egyptian high court has liquidated their parliament.
In the Iroquois language Ohio means a good river.
Car industry statements defend the three-crew workday,
Though the three-crew system is hard on workers’ households.
In Mozambique irrigation and agribusiness are expanding.
In Russian, the word “liquidate” is especially sinister.
Speeches and statements. Tongues. Poems, reports, parleys.
An Egyptian says, This is the smoothest of military coups.
“We’d be outraged,” he says, “if we weren’t so exhausted.”
“Economy” comes from “household” in ancient Greek.
The saying is, money talks; now, money is speech itself—
According to our own high court. In Mozambique,
The massive irrigation is bad for subsistence farmers, but
Africa can feed the world, says a corporate spokesman.
if practicing love for years in your mind,
prepares you for the moment,
if practicing to defend one’s life
is the same as living?” —
Old Boy by A. Van Jordan
gender is relative, I answer
2nd or 3rd cousin twice removed, once distilled
has your cheek bones and chest unsettled
make only connections with skin
fingerprints and heart lines
race is a complex of invisible strings
played out like viola and violins:
I could never quite tell them apart
(but that is white privilege too)
we’re japan and cincinnati, we two
really a world apart
coasters resting uneasy on a heavy sea
I believe that your hand touching
mine is the only messiah left
from all the places god had been
we spread like germs into the cities
frenzied laid claim inside the walls of another heaving cell
some ten or so years after puberty
bodies and antibodies banging like pot and pan lids
spawned and sprawling through open channels
gaining consent, infectious hunger, bits of skin and life: fast
a potent stew of sweat, cosmetics, feces
awkward quiet and other shit
we grow virus like and ivy vines
the beautiful nuisance of flowering
weeds. wind and wings of small birds and the bees
take us as flecks of sticky pollen so far
from what comes to mind when someone says home
recollection is bruised to the shade of eggplant and amber
tender and subtle as the sun arcs back
to a fetal position to sleep
sickness is more steadfast than light
tonight we lie afflictions at bay
another day draws back into itself
tobacco mosaic burn young leaves
the origin of everything in the evolutionary history of life
is unknown, we guess
we grow best where it’s crowded
unhealed, we’re moved for a cure
Essay on Adam
by Robert Bringhurst
There are five possibilities. One: Adam fell.
Two: he was pushed. Three: he jumped. Four:
he only looked over the edge, and one look silenced him.
Five: nothing worth mentioning happened to Adam.
The first, that he fell, is too simple. The fourth,
fear, we have tried and found useless. The fifth,
nothing happened, is dull. The choice is between:
he jumped or was pushed. And the difference between these
is only an issue of whether the demons
work from the inside out or from the outside
in: the one
1. wanted to go to the game with you tonight but didnt have the balls.
I spent $13.30 on something small - told you
how politics and love are contact sports, and our elbows are sharp.
2. It will be a Friday
I will be rested, your
eyes settled in the sour yellow
swill of tobacco burning
and pit stains
hazel and hoppy tones
until we’re green
saying things like
like amethysts and absinth
and the summer is green
and will never end
3. I will miss you to the slumber of rain
we won’t wake to together
to things unquieted in the last hours
sweat pooling in the clefts of limbs gone limp
new bark taut around it’s paler tree, I do not mind
rubbing like thighs in corduroy, the low whistle
from moments up above the knee