The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2020

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FEB 2020 Issue


Waiting for Never (The Unspoken Word)

I propose this chilly morning to the world
Itself awaiting a duh flash spilt tongue lift
From and over the cloud suture and astral
Bludgeon with pigeon slowly
Dusting powdery snow of never
Quite spring the Bowery and people walking
Past the door they are invited into
Calm betrayal of blue caution how
To challenge everyday stupidity of knock?
Go in, my dear Friend, how friendship
Covers the moment grave gravy I crave
Potential even as the salty rock diamond
Stalactite drips efficiency into the troll’s mug
Bard soap and melt the hair
Retrieve all hope that rocks out the tear
And then they would respond, all
One of them via ventricle the cerebral-spinal
Ocean speaks to the shore and the river craves
The rafter to the soldier and her kin a reminder
Of uniform plaid crazed blue stain barbering
The remainder with keener resplendence
As the tough went and the leaner surrenders
All over the floor, dancing swans and minstrels
Affiliate of the sore spore’s delight to restore
Capturing the glance moment’s pleasure in
Significant disarray for never and a day off
Just to wish a happening birthday man the relish
Of forgetfulness and the king of dome under sun
Meshing alluvial restraint to the mitred velocity
A hand appears to float around like a magic trick
Without the magician and the church sprouts
Up like a cornstalk silk and one wink fractures
The morningside domain’s dominion of predominant
Dominoes and prevailing veils waiting the pun
To vanish the child into the man the woman
The ages suit up and rashly billow a fragrance
All too balmy and proficient

After a Hard Rain
praise poem for Steve Cannon

he’s gone from the hillside
   that demands reparations

   he’s gone from the interchange
that never stops changing

he’s gone from the poem
   that will never be spoken

   he’s gone from the gathering
where all tribes are represented

he’s gone from the future
   that he was already living

   he’s gone from the emails
he deletes before receiving

he’s hammering the verses
   on whalebone and cardboard

   he’s drifting in consciousness
where no one can find him

he’s hearing your words
   before you can speak them

   he’s making love in the sunshine
with sunshine sisters & brothers

he’s inventing new ways
   for art galleries to blast off

he can’t believe he has to repeat
   his slogans of simplicity

   he refuses to understand
your old systems of logic

he matches your bet and
   he raises your anti-

   he manifests his destiny
inside of a flower

he takes truth to the limits and
   leaves us there gasping

   he can’t stop the world so
the world closes around him

he ran off with his lover
   when no one was watching

   he climbed the tall mountains
and fished us from deep waters

he lifted up the wasted
   & wanted the wanted

   his victory will always be
us just sitting around

time is an anchor
   he tossed overboard

   equality was his breath and
he breathed it continuously

there was something about him
   that we’ll never know

   he was that way in all ways
and we always knew

he never let on and
   we’ll never know

   his boots were leaking
and his body was swaying

they stopped his breath
   but his beat keeps on beating

   his life was the question
that answered the answer

his rigorous approach was
   masked in a carnival

   shut-up you dullards
and give him the floor

and give him the ceiling
   the windows, the door

   and the Tribes are all Gathering
he belongs to them all

and stay out of his way
   as he mows us all down

   and he keeps on walking
as we all lie down

and we kneel at his gravestone
   but don’t heed his demands

   he was asking of us to
give the way he did

now you must decide how
   your life you will live

   he had nothing to die for
but he died for us anyway

he had everything to live for
   but he gave it all away

   now that it’s over
he says you begin

now that he’s gone
   you welcome him in

   there’s no one like him
so it must be him

and the tribes are all gathering
   as we sit on the rim

   on the edge, on the verge
as we gather around him

your communities need you and
   Steve is beside you

   ride off in the sunset and
and pull the night o’er you

take off your blinders
   sing a new horizon

   there’s nothing more to say
so now go ignore him

and he keeps it going
   in the silence that follows

   in the silence that follows
he keeps going on


Bob Holman

Bob Holman is an American poet and poetry activist, most closely identified with the oral tradition, the spoken word, and poetry slam.


The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2020

All Issues