Thursday, May 11, 2006

Yesterday I went to a Black Poets Society reading, my first poetry slam. Wow! What energy and rhythm, all hip-hop, performance, even a nice poem called I hate Justin Timberlake, and the style keeps echoing. So this morning's commuting poem came out a little differently. Read this one out loud with a rapper's beat.

Commute #33

I was driving to work this morning feeling pretty safe
when I passed a logging truck doing 60 in his place,
hauling old growth redwoods chopped out of what premordial forest hung with silence . . to be bark dust? a disgrace.

Yesterday's image floated before my face,
grass heavy fields as far as the eye can see.
Both sides of the road,
fence lines punctuated by bird song until I got to this place:
White hooded plastic covered his face, a human spraying
machine methodically back and forth, making the world safe
from all kinds of creepy crawly things,
road straight and narrow out of that place, and
I ramped it, not spending one second in that space.

Back to my papers, second-hand books, borrowed books, library books
and pocket garden, safe,
no gun carrying, sand-blasted patrol in my neighborhood,
no night terrors, no police banging, banging at the door,
no soldiers marching out on election day,
no one tied up and left to the dogs,
no people in the streets,
no people in the streets,
no people IN YOUR FACE.

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