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Powers of recuperation
poetry [ ]

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
by [Adrienne_Rich ]

2011-04-06  |     |  Submited by jkloungsuh





A woman of the citizen party—what’s that
is writing history backward

her body the chair she sits in
to be abandoned repossessed

The old, crusading, raping, civil, great, phony, holy, world,
second world, third world, cold, dirty, lost, on drugs,

gangrenous, maiming, class
war lives on

a done matter she might have thought
ever undone though plucked

from before her birthyear
and that hyphen coming after

She’s old, old, the incendiary
woman

endless beginner

whose warped wraps you shall find in graves
and behind glass plundered



2.

Streets empty now citizen rises shrugging off
her figured shirt pulls on her dark generic garment sheds
identity inklings watch, rings, ear-studs
now to pocket her flashlight her tiny magnet
shut down heater finger a sleeping cat
lock inner, outer door insert
key in crevice listen once twice
to the breath of the neighborhood
take temperature of the signs a bird
scuffling a frost settling

… you left that meeting around two A.M. I thought
someone should walk with you


Didn’t think then I needed that

years ravel out and now

who’d be protecting whom


I left the key in the old place
in case



3.

Spooky those streets of minds
shuttered against shatter

articulate those walls
pronouncing rage and need

fuck the cops come jesus
blow me again


Citizen walking cat-wise
close to the walls

heat of her lungs leaving
its trace upon the air

fingers her tiny magnet
which for the purpose of drawing

particles together will have to do
when as they say the chips are down


4.

Citizen at riverbank seven bridges
Ministers-in-exile with their aides
underneath dreaming limb to limb

conspiring by definition

Bridges trajectories arched
in shelter rendezvous

two banks to every river two directions
to every bridge
twenty-eight chances

every built thing has its unmeant purpose


5.

Every built thing with its unmeant
meaning unmet purpose

every unbuilt thing

child squatting civil
engineer devising

by kerosene flare in mud
possible tunnels

carves in cornmeal mush irrigation
canals by index finger

all new learning looks at first
like chaos

the tiny magnet throbs
in citizen’s pocket


6.

Bends under the arc walks bent listening for chords and codes
bat-radar-pitched or twanging
off rubber bands and wires tin can telephony

to scribble testimony by fingernail and echo
her documentary alphabet still evolving

Walks up on the bridge wind-whipped roof and trajectory
shuddering under her catpaw tread
one of seven

built things holds her suspended
between desolation

and the massive figure on unrest’s verge1
pondering the unbuilt city

cheek on hand and glowing eyes and
skirted knees apart


2007

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