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  • 100 and sap still rising
    jim perkinson

    my woman asks me a poem
    this morning in the midst
    of our own upheavals and words
    --to be offered as a monument
    to a duration of hope etched
    in a face of resolve
    a graced bogg of burning pith
    an adamantine eloquence
    in a set jaw
    a gift of tongue clear to
    the roots of now
    plowing all our fictions and derelictions
    our fantasies of a new mission
    with raw truths
    as sharp as a spade on a clod
    of black bottom
    sowing seed, yet again at every
    year of digging toe into the soil of
    paradise valley derision, a house of
    incubation on a horizon of decimation
    a living womb of vision
    she is a medium now for 3 generations
    taking her talk in all 4 directions
    elders and youngers, colors as bold as
    the hunger in any eye starved by
    the colonial clamor and cry
    a detroit summer even in the winter
    of our collapse and wondering why
    a motown mama like a spirit-possession
    calling every jaded desire-for-change
    to full height
    laughing her rebuke
    muting hard logic only in the magic of compassion
    like a composted cucumber transforming
    brick-shard into table-top nutrition
    a beloved hallowing
    as simple as a gathering
    in an old house
    as stark as dawn
    on a january street
    in a detroit storm of sleet
    unrelenting as jimmy boggs
    heat for failing to sail
    the flag of transformation
    in the full wind of evolutionary revolution
    as tart as an invincible tongue
    shooting bullet-darts of incineration
    straight through the farts of old men
    high on department of correction
    defecation, flushed back downtown
    by a ron scott declamation
    shea howell howls of alternative education
    re-mediating the pollution, while
    rich feldman growls of exclamation
    excoriate union halls of any temptation
    to whitewash
    the situation today is a conflagration
    the end of industrialization
    apocalyptic desolation
    but in the ground of the pounded down
    a glimmer of a new round of
    resounding sounds of a hound of vitality
    on the rise
    nearly disguised
    as wise as a 100-year-old gaze
    looking straight into the dark
    and seeing the prize
    that has never not started up again
    . . . like a new beginning
    bursting from a harsh end.
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