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A HOPKINS RUMBLE, 1999

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For James Richardson

Gerard, juke-step Jerry, little wrestler, soul-mess
of sinew and mind-sight, fired spark, joyed Jesuit,
grief-clog too, but a Pan-flute in every Ave, you half-nelson
the syntax dandies, ram them to canvas, sit upon and pin

the god-fops, minions of ghost tomes, trite chimes,
though you walk among them, too, jig and roar
of black-robed stroll in golden-grove and choral iambs.
You were, yes, that falcon flight, the labor, soar, and

dive, but buzzard nose for carrion, too, sniffed your own,
knew, alone, the rot, rope-knot or buckle of roots under-on
rock, your gowned back to roses, rosaries, but eyes a song gone
up, too, sickly little wings stuck in God-glue air: how long?

You sang one dialectic flight, sir—the only kind. How high
can the swallow swoop, how low the falcon grieve, relieve,
in fall till pinions hold him, there, to kill? Light-
weight, mutt, heaver of iron, scrap,feather: I believe

the hurt, believe you saw what you saw.

Source: Poetry

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This poem originally appeared in the June 2000 issue of Poetry magazine

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A HOPKINS RUMBLE, 1999

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