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The windows of America are faceless,
incestuous screens pumiced in pure glass,
triangular, innocent, wired white hoods cropped in green glass.
Comatose and armed explorers
brought salt water from the ocean
to boil in three kettles as an offering;
The Indians smoked
on the mountaintrails
in buck heat high along the Columbia;
Lewis and Clark
their slave York,
took their salt up in their webbings;
the meat now cured,
the lumber stink off the river,
fertilize no soil without Indian blood
or red roses…
He waltzes into the lane ‘cross the free-throw line,
Fakes a drive pivots, floats from the asphalt turf in an arc of black light,
and sinks two in the chains.
One on one he fakes down the main, passes into the free lane and hits the chains.
A sniff in the fallen air-he stuffs it through the chains riding high:
“traveling” someone calls-and he laughs, stepping to a silent beat, gliding
as he sinks two in the chains….
Michael S. Harper
Sex fingers toes
in the marketplace
near your father’s church
in hamlet , North Carolina-
witness to this love
in this calm fallow
of these minds, there is no substitute for pain:
genitals gone or going,
seed burned out,
you tuck the roots in the earth,
turn back, and move
by the river through the swamps,
singing a love supreme, a love supreme;
what does it all mean?
Loss, so great each black
woman expects your failure
in mute change, the seed gone.
You plod up into the electric city-
your song now crystal and