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American Roots: Moral Associations

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1    Kinship:
      Is embarrassing the wind,
      Like dead black boys,
      Falling down from the trees,
      Then downstream–
      On their knees,
      Blood like,
      Like a rich nation.

2    Metaphor:
      Becomes humiliating,
      And clean,
      Ticking like a ripe machine.
      Do not
      Bend,
      Fold,
      Or mutilate me–
      This is your future speaking.

3    The air smells so metaphysical
      We have accused it–
      Of smog,
      And lost manhood,
      Then all ritual.

4    Whoever wrote:
      A view is a mountain speaking
      But left the introduction
      For the snow,
      And accused silence
      Of its soul.

5    The whole nation:
      Is a stanza of blackness,
      A huge white whale,
      Faith in space
      (Like the newspapers),
      And the quiet insistence
      We have peace,
      And it’s your world, brother.

Primus St. John, "American Roots: Moral Associations" from Communion: Poems 1976-1998. Copyright © 1999 by Primus St. John. Reprinted with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townshend, WA 98368-0271, coppercanyonpress.org.
Source: Communion: Poems 1976-1998 (Copper Canyon Press, 1999)
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American Roots: Moral Associations

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