The New World

By Amiri Baraka 1934–2014 Amiri Baraka
The sun is folding, cars stall and rise
beyond the window. The workmen leave
the street to the bums and painters’ wives
pushing their babies home. Those who realize   
how fitful and indecent consciousness is
stare solemnly out on the emptying street.
The mourners and soft singers. The liars,
and seekers after ridiculous righteousness. All   
my doubles, and friends, whose mistakes cannot   
be duplicated by machines, and this is all of our   
arrogance. Being broke or broken, dribbling   
at the eyes. Wasted lyricists, and men
who have seen their dreams come true, only seconds   
after they knew those dreams to be horrible conceits   
and plastic fantasies of gesture and extension,
shoulders, hair and tongues distributing misinformation   
about the nature of understanding. No one is that simple   
or priggish, to be alone out of spite and grown strong   
in its practice, mystics in two-pants suits. Our style,   
and discipline, controlling the method of knowledge.   
Beatniks, like Bohemians, go calmly out of style. And boys   
are dying in Mexico, who did not get the word.   
The lateness of their fabrication: mark their holes   
with filthy needles. The lust of the world. This will not
be news. The simple damning lust,
                                       float flat magic in low changing   
                                       evenings. Shiver your hands
                                       in dance. Empty all of me for
                                       knowing, and will the danger   
                                       of identification,

                           Let me sit and go blind in my dreaming   
                           and be that dream in purpose and device.

                           A fantasy of defeat, a strong strong man   
                           older, but no wiser than the defect of love.

Amiri Baraka, “The New World” from Transbluesency: The Selected Poems of Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones, 1961-1995 (New York: Marsilio Publishers, 1995). Copyright © 1995 by Amiri Baraka. Reprinted with the permission of Sll/Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc.

Source: Transbluesency: The Selected Poems of Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones 1961-1995 (1995)

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Poet Amiri Baraka 1934–2014

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Living, Growing Old, Arts & Sciences, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture, Cities & Urban Life

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Amiri  Baraka


Poet, writer, teacher, and political activist Amiri Baraka was born Everett LeRoi Jones in 1934 in Newark, New Jersey. He attended Rutgers University and Howard University, spent three years in the U.S. Air Force, and returned to New York City to attend Columbia University and the New School for Social Research. Baraka was well known for his strident social criticism, often writing in an incendiary style that made it difficult . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Growing Old, Arts & Sciences, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture, Cities & Urban Life

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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