Saturday, December 15, 2007

New Poem by Al Young


California is so fortunate to have Al Young as our California Poet Laureate. He is a passionate ambassador for poetry. And he's a great guy.

He's also an inspired teacher. (Annie and I took a workshop with him a few years ago.)

Below is a new poem by Al, who says: Before long [this poem] will appear in the Marin Poetry Anthology. SOMETHING ABOUT THE BLUES, my new collection from Sourcebooks also includes it.

CLEARING THE WAY FOR ECSTASY

Big skies have always hung around in bursts
of peril and merriment. Such lush urgency.

Warm fast beside me on the floor, unemerged,
you press your body-you into my body-me:
a mass of space and particles, a cloud of chords
and song still unarranged, massive; a crowd
of two so undemonstrative we don’t get attacked
by cops with real or rubber bullets, with M-16’s
or mace – not yet. Your fingers laced in mine
design the interlocking force that glues galaxies.

Big skies above our rooftop spread and clear
the way for ecstasy, a thunderhead to break
our sense of wonder away from one another,
to turn back into lake and sea the stream
your body-you, my body-me must have
always been. Of all the civilians voluptuously
curled up on this rug so randomly -- why us?

How can anyone, you ask, how can anyone kill
in such surroundings of desert, mountain, jungle,
savannah, plains, delta, beach, shore, star
and all the light that scraps us into birth? I listen.

To cello, drums and soulful shouts we brush
against the grain. You gun your thrusts and
time yourself to me. I give up every time.

Big skies will always hang around in bursts
of peril and merriment. Such hushed urgency.
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