Monday, April 9, 2007

Forbidden Poetry

When I have succeeded in insinuating
my soul into words, when the revolution comes
and there are bodies on the street and women scream
with grief and anger over the senseless murders
of their husbands and sons while policemen arrest
them for unlawful assembly, when we shake our
heads in silence over the reactionary
headlines in the shit sheets we used to call papers
and we drink our coffee without watching while the
ever-so-smug professional liar tells us
the official version of the news, when the only
effective form of protest is to quit your job —
because no one sees the downtown rallies, the handmade
posters advocating change, the police riots —
I hope I will not be like Lorca, among the
first to die — there will be forbidden poetry.

This poetry will be what we are not — one part
venom, one part medicine, rubbed into the wound
of the American dream — it will be strong, moral,
boisterous, and loud. We will deny reading it,
we will deny hearing it, of downloading the
MP3s. It will be indirect, like tango —
the words will say one thing but will insinuate
another. It will wail like the blues and dare to
call to account paramilitary killings.
It will sing hymns and praises to God, echoing
el Mozote in America. And it will
comfort lovers who have lost their loved ones — crying
yet silent. And it will be the fuel for violence,
for young poets will understand that words are not
enough, and yet the words will have meaning — perhaps
not my soul, but the soul of America, reborn.

(I was inspired to repost this by the post at Balkinization (see below).)