Two Poems by Don Paul
Read on September 22 at the dedication of the Poets
Corner at the corner of Grant and Filbert.
The Poets They're Drunk
The poets they're drunk.
They're talking to dogs.
They're how leaves speak.
They swim in thunderstorms.
"Strike me with lightning! I'm here to be filled!"
They're avenging angels,
More valuable than $1.37.
They name vowels' colors!
They wish only to sleep.
They're talking to themselves.
No one loves them. No one listens!
They're alien in America.
They're crushed by clockwork grooves.
They seek diamonds to hone.
They're stumbling home.
More vain than birds, mad for just fame,
They abandon gossip, back-stabbing, double-dealing
And any manipulation on commerce's arts-ladder
For peace in their minds' theater,
Still, they'll recite for wine or pretty ones.
Still, they wind up passed-out on somebody's couch.
Still, they wind up awake with scented flesh and silken skin
In the most marvelous and surprising of beds,
Alert and sensitive as rutting deer, tender as a pig's ear.
Their art is neurotic. Their art is salvation.
They may not be useful. They may be most vital.
They keep shrines to gentle prophets.
They arch their throats at the Tower.
They dance and sit zam-zun by a cast-iron Ben Franklin.
Their music is dangerous when they reach so hign.
Bless them. Bless them for their
Crooked walks, bugged and faraway eyes,
Their wounds and gifts that try to reach Joe, Joan and gods.
September 21, 2002
Washington Square Park on "'9/11'"
In what we don't know,
In what we're told
From fascist Networks' News,
The rows of flags stuck in the Park,
Each flag the size of a child's pennant,
Of them exact memorial to the dead–
The innocent dead instantly
Dead on that indelible day
Now one year old–
So much the vast majority
Of them that other colors are obscured,
Their field so exact and alike
They're as if Seurat's obsessed distinctions were made soup-cans–
This field of flags, I say,
Tells those who record and observe,
Who honor and mourn the innocent dead
Dead for no fault of theirs (the vast,
Really multi-colored majority of them),
Solemn with cameras, respectful with flowers,
Some shedding tears:
"Remember ... And remember who did this to us
(Us under the great red-white-and-blue flag
Hung lengthwise between trees) –
Blame them, blame Arabs, blame bin Laden Al Queda Saudis
Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran and ...
Blame Arabs for this field of our poor dead ...
Know justice – know vengeance – make war on them"–
Instead of revealing the real monsters
Who hide by flags as they kill innocents,
Just as fascists' Networks' News
Will tell us again this day and night.