968 Readings | 11 Ratings

Shake Our Hand

               On another street tomorrow
we could be whores in this
                                dark,
bodies like tamped-down city wheat—

we could emerge from the manholes
                              of the dead
singing yes! yes! yes! or whistling
some notional anthem of ourselves.
On city stoops

               speaking directly into the sun
we could be a significant failure seen

                              from a great distance,
we could be instructively morose
about violence: how accurately
it is portrayed in us. Every gentle man
cuts himself.
                              It is not too early for us

to turn our backs on the track, for us
to turn in our turncoats
                              like fields of weather.
The dark waits on yes, so—so—YES—

there is no secret self—
                              but still
                              I follow it everywhere.

Posted 12/03/09
This poem previously appeared in New York Quarterly (No. 65).
Comments (1)
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This poem demonstrates the importance of form, specifically with its deft anaphora and repetition and its stanzaic overlapping against the grooves.
12/22/09 1:53am