this poem is for you Roberto
and for Ed “Foots” Lipman too
this poem is for every poet
who ever paced the cellblocks of San Quentin
Folsom, Attica, and Neil Island
or fought the people’s struggle in Chile
Cuba or Nicaragua

this poem is for those who walk
the dream of freedom
with guerilla visions
in their hearts and eyes

this poem is for those
who gave their lifeblood
to wash the streets free of oppression
for those who rest in heroic
and not so heroic graves
in the struggle for human dignity

I sit here in my seventy-fifth year
thinking of young boys
who have fought the real war
of grieving mothers and widows
thinking of young girls with color-book eyes
young women in black suspender belts
and knee high leather boots
with revolutionary roots

thinking of how the words come too late
and never say enough
knowing that in the Buddha Temple of life
all things must die
knowing there is no survival
no tarot cards horoscopes or incantations
to bring back the dead

I walk the midnight supermarket of death
thinking of Lorca and that long dirt road
thinking of the execution wall

the hangman’s noose
ethnic cleansing ovens
and genocide
hearing the gypsy ballad
that sings to the heavens
knowing there is a strange code
to this language
we are addicted too
as Gene Fowler pointed out
evil spelled backwards is live
being made into a State
automated robot is evil
but dying is not evil
for it is in its whole
the disintegration
the bacterial feeding which
in turn is a live process
and so the fight goes on
and must go on until every street
has been cleared of assassins
until every newborn
is encircled in a poem
the spirit living on
in those passed the baton

the vision cannot be killed
even as we retreat into
the depths of our being
listening to the blood
beat solid against the walls
of the heart knowing
there are secrets in the bones
that cannot be denied
or sold out to the whims
of others

Sleep well my comrades
Only the flesh is gone
Your strength lives on
in those who dared
to reach out and kiss
the sun

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