where the writers are
At The End of Rage

at the end of rage 

            “Truly we are here

              on the roof of the world.”

                   J.M. Coetzee

 

Maybe a flight back east

will cure.

a sidewalk surrounds me like rain

it is night like a dumb beast

I want only future.

I watch as pain becomes a sneer

on the face of contempt.

city you are my mother

you are unfinished I am restless

it is not for me to judge

the city of my birth.

like a devout atheist

I am waiting to be disproved

on Elizabeth street a red ambulance struggles

like red brick  your children   little Italy

grown old with fear  your women in designer

  despair.

I hear the long solitary notes of a ripe flute

from a cracked tenement  new york

you are my mother

though old and battered

your wisdom defies you

like an empty mirror

in a crowded room

you remind us of our infirmity

like a nagging wife

you are an ancestor

in spite of yourself.

how I love your passion

Manhattan where survival is the ultimate revenge.

 

in San Francisco I speak broken Italian

with a lost sailor from naples

where streetlights of hunger

hide men without roofs

from the sun.

a blind man sits outside an autoteller

on Montgomery street with his coin cup

 

he swears your gates are open

his cup is empty.

on grant street fat chickens hang

in windows of Chinese merchants  there is chatter

and fast feet.

I watch this city as the other

we are all cities waiting

to be watched.

at the end of rage

like a full beast

I must wander to stay awake

where are your vowels?

like a swollen nerve on a vital bed

there is no denying it---

there is no relief

but to stalk the streets

demanding only what is

alive and true.

 

far above the hills

we make love to ghosts we never knew

and awake with the taste

of sweat on our thighs.

0 city where is your anger

asleep in the last car

of the last train out of penn station.

where is your anger

in a dumpsite collecting uranium

in sudden rifle of a lone lunatic

in macdonald’s blitz in the terrible eyes

of a child on a bus  0 city

where is your anger?

we make love to ghosts

we never knew.

let the dead stay where they are

they will only go back to shadows

on the sheets ironic as the hot sun

on a cold hearse.

your ghosts walk

but they do not move strange city

your massive nerves protruding

through a suit of ivory.

I am waiting to be disproved.

your ghosts walk

but they do not move.

  

give me back my rage  0 city

in uneven rhythms on drunken streets.

I will dance for you

red like a warrior

red with beginning.