joelfeat

Joel Oppenheimer

Poet/Black Mountain poet, 1930-1988

Poem for SoHo, 8 June 1970

i am his majesty’s poet at westbeth;
pray, sir, whose little painter are you?

and i notice in the news that
the kids are still being encouraged
to take part in the system, and
that the green berets dead
today of a misplaced dynamite charge at
fort bragg or wherever it was are
more heroic than the new left bombers
and i wonder why we persist in pursuing
that vain dream: a space to work in.

but, damn it, we do persist, the
work keeps coming out, and all we
are asking is a little cave somewhere,
where we can do the work. even
cro magnon allowed that, and,
possibly, even gained by it.
at least we think they found where
the animals were, by the paintings.

if only we could find our consciences
as easily, this is the fight we
are fighting. and asking for
space to build our own perimeters
in defense of such. believe us,
or drop the history of man.

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