for F.J. Bardacke,
                                   who tries to bring it together
                                   among the members of our wedding

It is noon in the city of fear. You are running
across endless asphalt, astonished by the sky's sweet blue,
when the centipede line of helmet and club
comes around the corner of your nightmare.
Bright in your plumage, you wheel and flutter
like a desperate shorebird through the harsh fog
of anger, and escape to a concrete beach
where your brothers wait with their wings in their pockets
together facing the wind. And some lonely freak
of your common blood stands up with a staff
in his hand to cry,
                                    I planted this land with love
and confrontation in my heart, also a bit
of romantic self-consciousness. Where I started
first green, I left as fertilizer
spare locks of my hair and feathers
from my bird. They grow! it is a miracle!
I water them with rainbow tears
and the public utilities, in view of a sacrament
that commits me to experiment with foliage
on the faces their glaciers of closure
have left empty as institutions. Come clear,
choose now: we all know their response
to the flag of life, can we care any longer
that they find my eyes and your ways disturbing?
We are the changing seed, an American grain
from a season of dreams and betrayal,
with some links of our chromosome chains forced open
by a century of technology radiation,
preparing to flower in wild varieties. Soaked
in the waters of extended senses, warmed
by the early sun of our longing, your husk
has split open, the sprout of your life
swells and begins to search for its forms.
You cannot retreat to the cave
of the closed self: to live is to grow:
come watch seeds open in the ground,
attacked by the instant elements, if you think
there's a choice about confrontation.

There is rotary music in the midday sky,
skeleton birds and hornet tongues
are skywriting Death on invisible clouds
as the gardener passes the staff
to one who goes on,
                                   In the night,
when my lover's fingers cling like roots in my hair,
our bodies beat soft jackhammer rhythms
on the pavements of closure, and the green of our touching
opens and covers the wounded concrete.
Under the stubborn blanket of stone, linked
at bulb and branch, the pale networks of our nerves
hum with the song of eager pain
that the blind shoots make, longing for leaves,
as they tug and shoulder the fragments
into monuments for the park of the future,
leaving space for a darkness
rich with the colors of our coming,
where weary animals collapse embraced
to dream of growing old
in the deliberate wilderness of love.

It is noon in your study of longing. You are sitting
with some other fragments of our heart
on grass beaten brown by the ignorant armies,
while the sun presides at an endless teach-in
designed to put it all together.
                                                    We have invented
the instant university, it exists wherever
we choose to park. With this staff, the symbol
of power and flower, I become Department Chairman.
Would you learn Agronomy ? Observe the plants
teaching ignorant hands to help them grow.
Some Political Science? Trace the web of control
made visible by our resistance, examine positions
speaking like men, determine the self-interest behind
each lie, and its root in the fear of the Other.
Your proper school is the crucible street: in whose arms
could you learn so clearly the nature of what is
and of what might be, or test your substance
of anger and joy ? Let me read you a telegram
to our lobbyists in the Capitol:   DEMAND
FOLLOWS.  The response has been encouraging
to those who dream of a revolution
in the priorities of learning, and at night by our fires
of celebration, we confess and study the fragments
of these lives, with a torn clumsy openness
that transcends the lying boundaries
of disciplines and the skin. Let me close
with a text from an eminent Eastern professor
in the college of Change: To create knowledge,
it is necessary to change reality. If you would know
the taste of the apple of Revolution, you must change the apple
by eating it.
                  It is noon at the gates of Eden,
where the primeval wind blows through the orchard wilderness
refreshing the clustered faces, heady
with the fragrance of first fruit.
In the shadows still heavy with morning Chaos
you shiver and dream of a darker season
where the trunk and gestures of hope
stand bare above the stormfallen brothers
while a woman as slim as the staff of your spine
cries in the voice of the wind,
                                                                           I speak for the snake,
who is our brother. The snake urges you
to plant the seed. Plant it. They lied to us
with their fairy-tales. They convinced us
to shun the knowledge of the beasts of the field
and our groins. They set us to studying
taxonomy instead, because it was value-free
and said nothing but desert lay beyond
their chaste lawns. They claimed to know it all.
They were wrong. The man and the woman
have stood naked before each other unashamed.
In forbidden vegetable ritual we have dreamed
of the great two-headed Snake of the Universe.
We have deciphered the language of our spilled blood.
It says we have but one mortal life. It is time
to stop drawing up lists of names
and tending the borders, time to recreate
the Knowledge of Good and Evil, to renew
the icons distorted by their denial.
Power to the People's Mythology!
                                                                    It is noon
in the one-dimensional garden. Two actors
in the guerrilla theater of our becoming
stand waiting in innocent hair, like the halves
of your common heart, in the open stage
of a sheltering tree. In the foreground
the serpent of transcendent life rises
from a sudden hole in the pavement
of repression, mounts like blind creation
through the concealing leaves. It promises
birth that is also the death of an order.
The snake offers the apple. The woman
accepts its promise, and offers the apple's body.
The man receives nourishment from the woman.
He eats of the apple. Its flesh is the lives
of his brothers and sisters. He gives the appleseeds
to the woman. Under a banner
that displays what might be a seedling
seeking the sun, or a snake coiled
above a warning, she moves with him Westward
into the wilderness of Amerika. They eat of their fruit
for life, and look for open space
to plant its seeds.
                           Somewhere high in the mountains
of the twentieth century, they move through the crowd
among the tie-dyed tents of our first encampment,
handing out apples and leaflets
and plotting the overthrow of the State.
They pass you the staff. From an overhead ambush
the U.S. Cavalry focusses its binoculars
on the blushing face of your joy and defiance,
automatic fingers begin to sort for your memory,
reconstruct the essential features
of your revolt.
                                     He is Red! cries the Officer,
redskinned like a newborn, face wrinkled
in discontent at the stuff we feed him
for the good of his system.
                                              He is Red!
cries the Mayor, telegraphing Washington,
he's an Indian brave of some ten summers
with his dog and toy arrows, wants to pitch
his tent wherever he pleases and move on
in the morning.
                          He is Red! cries the General,
recalling a manual memorized for the War,
he's a high-school Commie reciting the catechism:
From the State according to its Ability,
to the People for their Needs.
                                                   He is Red! confirms
the computer, sending out an all-points bulletin:
RED ALERT!!  Member of freak neo- Bolshevik tribe
has wandered beyond his reservations. At large
in Universe City, he is thought to be seeking the rites
of his manhood, will probably try
to steal a bride. Don't let whatever
you treasure hang loose: he is looking to rip off
more than your pride. Subject is armed with a staff
that turns concrete to grass, and considered extreme.
An open addict, he may be identified
by star-tracks in his left bloodstream
and a tendency to self-incrimination,
as in these words spoken at noon
in the precinct of control, disguised as an animalcule
in the thin film of life misting the skin
of a small planet:
                             I am not ashamed
that I love the earth my mother and sister,
love learning to let her play me, as I love
to play her master, in the Tao of a dance
denied to those who taught us to see her
only as their extension. Compelled to control
who shares her comfort, they have taken the land
in a wedding of fences. They have bound her in marriage
with lying contracts that define as property
her breast and the oils of her fragrance, property,
her concave favors of vault and bay, property,
her glad production and decoration, property,
even the personal flesh of her children, property,
bewildered with separation and waving from the train
to the military academy, under court order
to learn to carry on the business
of property properly. What wonder she has turned cold
against those who treat her like dirt, or that she shrouds
her sensual ecology, befouled by the uses
of their lust? With the bitter patience
of an arsenic widow, she serves them coffee
in the drawing-rooms of power, the rich harvest
of peasants in the highlands of Columbia.
She offers to mellow its dark accusations
with innocent milk from a breast
heavy with indelible chemical death,
and leaves them to breathe the smoke
that they blow in her face, engrossed in the schemes
of their anger and pride. Then she slips away
to the edge of town where our silences cross,
alive in the moon that troubles the dreams
of the burghers, and I take her in my gypsy arms
as she cries to me wild with pity,
                                                      They will not let go,
they are trapped in control's illusions
where every face reflects their fear.
Alone in the private and jealous kingdoms
of power, they turn their imaginations
to machines making brick from each possible leaf
or encounter, to wall out the dreadful chaos
of freedom. How can life possibly deal
with those who believe they have something to lose
by release?
                  It is noon under the avalanche
of history, you are hanging between alternatives,
there are tears on your hands and earth
in your eyes. Equipped with the latest
in counter- insurgency chrome, and freaking
from loss of control, the tanks of the Authority Complex
are rolling through Prague with your father at the wheel,
rolling past Grant Park with your teacher at the map,
pausing for orders with your lover at the gun
where Berkeley meets the Western Sea. Under their muzzles
she cries in the voice of your frightened sister,

There's a man strung out on electric barbs
with his hands on the naked wires. His bodv is taut
with imperial power, he cannot let go.
When I touch him the energy flashes my mind
to the blighted lands of my isotope nightmares
and a nest in the empty heart
of what was a tree Its entrance is narrow
with droppings, the light is dim on grown birds
crazy with magnetic derangement and some missing
genetic instruction. Stupid with the poisons
of their closing system, they squabble to death
in the failing light, in fear of the touch
of the wind. Take care, my Love, the wind,
take care, they are crying your name!

In the hands of your heart is the heart
of a bird still trembling with flight, and you hold her
while the seasons spin around you and fall
through the stroboscope wheel of night and day
wrapped in each other's arms. Dizzy with that metaphysic
of polar harmonies, without shaking her you remember
to shrug off your Supergood Superman costume,
as false as reassurance, and stand naked with the wind
at the quiet wedding of joy and despair, thinking,

I've forgotten how to deny the dark twin
of my Other. In the touch of my Lover's hand
you accept my conjugate Killer, and my Teacher
blinds you with sight. When I clench my fist
I can feel my bones hum the electric song
of the man on the wires. Can I tell you now
that it's not so pure, that all kinds of freaks
will show up if you open the park of your heart,
that your flowers will die if you close the gate
to what they taught you were weeds, that you must learn
the beauty of your black selves to be free?

In the fragrance of earth, in the grass of your arms,
she stirs near sleep among fragments of light.
Ignoring your desperation of images,
she leaves you to choose some one
of her small open faces, beautiful even in the scars
of survival, to plant with the naked kiss
of your eyes and the green of commitment
that struggles to bloom in your words:
I confess you my love, whom I choose to begin
to invent a marriage other than ownership,
in which we are joined in the ring of belonging
with whoever creates our freedom. And what I learn
of the song of that open dance
I will sing to your rest, till you dream
of fledglings poised on the lip of the nest
with the glad call ringing in the wind,
Let go! Let go! Let go!
                                          It is noon in the time
of your flight, and the guests at your fugitive wedding
embrace in a glory of banners and slogans
and wait for the sermon. You offer the staff
to the sky, alive in a festival of kites;
the green rays of its open invitation
nullify their protective charm. Through a sudden
dark corridor of air, ex machina Death
settles at your feet with helicopter precision.
Beneath the slowing scythes of its rotors
all the rivets retract in the iron skeleton,
joints and arms disassemble
and rebuild in the form of the bones of a man
who touches your hand on the staff and speaks
in the dry phrasing and eternal black robes
of a rector:
                        Rector, noun, the priest
of a parish; a teacher, usually of religion;
here the first of the white brothers
fallen for a public place. Though he watered the park
with anonymous sweat, there is some dispute
concerning the sanctity of his martyrdom, in part
because he was quiet and lately from San Jose
and you did not know him, in part
because you are new at applying the Knowledge
of Good and Evil to discover the nature
of Noble Death. You are well-experienced
in the deaths of diminishment, the meaningless
common varieties connected to Profit:
death of the drunken liver,
death of the cancerous lung,
death of the high-tension heart,
death of cholesterol arteries,
death of the whiplashed spine,
death of the unnamed embryo
from vitamin-lack in the shadow of rockets
that promise a moon whose craters of death
are towns whose names you cannot recall.
But awkward and shy with the furthering forms
of death, you struggle to come clear
within yourself and embrace their terms
at noon in the Church of our Becoming
where the bells suggest a list of examples
beginning with Goodman and Chaney
and Schwerner that gives no more hint
than the occasional flash of a bayonet
as the troops come together in a circle
with you as its focus. You cannot escape
my fate: Death waits to define your Life,
your only choice is to learn to create
its forms and their meanings, to search out the terms
and the path of your manhood. To walk with pride
in the company of Death, you must learn to walk easy
with the hard brothers of Hate and Anger
whom the Liberal Christian Chamber of Capital
taught you to scorn as unworthy, while they sold you
insipid prospectuses for the redevelopment
of the soul, and the inner cities rotted
politely unmentioned. For it furthers to hate
the human agency of your brother's death,
the men and the systems and aspects of mind
that conspire to kill without even enjoyment
or recognition, and order the dispassionate priorities
of Amerikan murder. You are free to anger
at the waste of your living earth
in the industries of alienation, at men "reasoning together"
in the abstractions that rationalize power
and deny the dark faces of their Other, at the distorted uses
that conditioned your ego to compete for a smile
in the classrooms of greed, and left on your spirit
the indelible stain of death and anger and fear
turned inward and moving like bold saboteurs
In the work of your hands. It completes you to honor with anger
the full Man in the man who now appears
in his Aspect as Pig in the public street,
to enact against the open wall of history
the visible violence of the system of quiet control;
it completes to recognize him as still mostly
your extension. So accept him endowed by your faith
with choice and responsibility, grant him the love
of your hate, whom -- without the unquestioning will
of a Gandhi, or a German Jew in '32 --
you may choose to kill as a Man one day.
He is closer to you in his savage glee
at a club in the face of his terror
than the executives of emptiness whose innocent pens
jerk their hands in parallel blows. No, no longer,
no use to bury the selves that you fear
without names, when you know they reappear
in someone's blood. So let it all come out, 
get straight with your fragments, you will need all you are
to survive and build in the rising wind
that topples the house that denies its foundations!
Let go, confess all of your spectrum of light
to see clear and accept the choice of your time:
to lay down the suicide knives
of your one-dimensional names,
to encounter the addict of control
who administers the fascism of meaninglessness,
to plant in the soil of the present the seed
of your being, as full itself as the apple Word,
and to choose to create with your Life
a Death that furthers Becoming!
                                                     It is noon
in the park of the poet's life, as he wanders
through the random orchards fed by the Words
of his friends, as he dreams of building a home
in the free city of the heart, mutable
in the changes of season, and almost invisible
in the open wilderness. Wrapped in the wind
of the people, you hand him the staff;
he takes it like a woman who grants him song
and together they climb toward the numeral cliff
of 30, that marks the end of a story
and the earth-blank page of a new beginning,
together he climbs to the lip of the nest
of the wind, to see the further land anew.

Dark with the sweat of brother palms,
the staff is the symbol of healing,
the defender of growth, the wand that creates
the open space of men speaking together
freely in turn. It sprouts leaves to promise
the kaleidoscope tree of community
that springs like a public meeting
from the universe of our soil. We were taught
to split it all apart, to live not in control
of the continual production of our selves,
to use our minds as tools of division,
to suffer the separation of things,
to cut off the hands of our hunger and fear
while the hand of Love the various joiner
withered in branch sympathy. Here the single tree
of one and many is refreshed by the blood
of your work, by the wind of announcements
from those who have been denied and are coming
together. The black man invites
you to love your secret nigger freak self,
the woman leads you to trust your brother,
the old peasant teaches you collective action
and guerrilla strategy, and the grass
tells you where to assemble
to steal back the moon. We were taught
to split it apart, we must learn from our life
to bring it together, to search out the free forms
of the Revolution of the Heart, and invent
the rituals of our Becoming. So rip up
the too-few-dimensional slogan, poster-thin memory
and use its fragments to kindle the fire
whose ashes of nitrate and charcoal
will nourish the green commitment tree.

It is noon in the age of our Changes.
Now the wounded are knocking on your door,
now your seasons revolve
         from Discovery through Protest to Resistance and Beyond,
now freak oratorios celebrate
         the planting of the forests of Liberation,
now the singing tendrils of our art
         free the vacant lots of the media,
now before the War
         you recover your body and love
         and salvage from China the sacred books,
now you refigure the ancient divisions
         and bring them together in this place
         where the love of struggle embraces the anger of play
         and the city of man grows with the plant of woman
         wrapped in each other's arms,
now where language is not enough,
         where my heart stops, where it all comes down
         and the Word of our Life is mysterious with First Action,
I ask you to admit your partnership in the conspiracy
to suspend our disbelief, and to speak these words
with me, brothers and sisters each separately in turn
and finally together:


The endless journey has slowed to halting.
           The end of the circle is the beginning.
The ancient image has lost Its splendor.
           There is a circle whose center is forming.
Our old houses are breaking in the wind.
           Our ring conspires to become our dream.
The wind cries Death to the System of Death.
            We are the Life in the Park of my heart.


The titles we bear form weary rhymes.
I have a name no one has spoken.
We have a name no one has spoken.


                                                           24 May - 15 June 1969

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