Tuesday, April 15, 2014

In Memoriam Amiri Baraka

At eighteen, disabled, I played
The pathetic drunk in "Dutchman"
For a dull student production
Reverentially radical
Already then, before Reagan
Took the White House and AIDS destroyed
A generation of gay men
LeRoi Jones had no kind words for,

But I dropped out of everything,
The play, the university,
Dreams of acting regularly,
Any ambitions I had then,
Except for sawing and sawing
Away at lyric poetry,
A weakness I shared with LeRoi,
Who seemed to think a drunken man

Stupefied on a subway train
Worth clubbing back down to the floor.
Whatever the metaphor was
That he intended, an earnest,
Handicapped white boy it wasn't.
My peers staged the show without me.
We all write, who write at all, wrongs
We never intended to right.

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