Friday, July 22, 2005

Prison Song

Was reading Alan Dugan's Poems Seven and was struck anew by the force of his vision, the density of his wordwork,
the sheer bullheadness and love of the stench of life and its better twin. Here's a sample I love:

Prison Song

The skin ripples over my body like moon-wooed water,
rearing to escape me. Where would it find another
anilmal as naked as this one it hates to cover?
Once it told me what was happening outside,
who was attacking, who caressing, and what the air
was doing to feed or freeze me. Now I wake up
dark at night, in a textureless ocean of ignorance,
or fruit bites back and water bruises like a stone:
a jealousy, because I look for other tools to know
with, and another armor, better fitted to my flesh.
So, let it lie, turn off its clues, or try to leave:
sewn on me seamless like those painful shirts
the body-hating saints wore, this sheath of hell
is pierced to my darkness nonetheless: what traitors
labor in my face, what hints they smuggle through
its itching guard! But even in the night it jails,
with nothing but its lies and silences to feed upon,
the jail itself can make a scenery, sing prison songs
and set off fireworks to praise a homemade day.


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