Resist writing beautiful words if none
are called for. Admit that your knitting needles
click at the bottom of the guillotine. Freedom
is formed from nightmares, made from the messy
soup of the chopping block, in breach births,
and in the haunted souls of the stillborn.
Liberty is written as the mad harlot’s song,
rising with the smells of the boudoir
as she gives birth to the blind child
who will one day cast silhouettes of hope.
Lies must be digested and shat in the gardens
of darkness, decomposition igniting light. Resist
all beautiful words if none are called for.
Do not trust overlays of light not yet explored.
Go free. Ring ounces of pretension
from your nakedness. Kill the aristocrats,
and then have your enemies as dinner guests
in rooms purged, made spacious enough for light
to filter through high arched windows. Resist
beauty if you can not find it in despair,
in the clenched fists clung to barbed wire, on walls
upon which the graffiti of limits are written.
Resist beauty if it is false. If it remains in palaces
instead of on the streets. If it exchanges terror
for cosmetics laced with lead. Your sole may leave a
bloody footprint as the baskets filled high with heads.
It’s still July 14th on my side of the world.
I wrote this poem a few years ago for a reading I did at Cafe Arrivederchi in San Rafael, CA. Subsequently, it was published by THE DICKENS, the wonderful literary magazine that Copperfield Books put out for a several years. It won the Eugene Ruggles Poetry Prize, sponsored by the magazine.