by LeRoi Jones
(Amiri Baraka)

Cut out
the insides,
where eyes
bungle in their silence, and trains suffer
to be painted
by memory.
                    This is turning. As a man
turns. Hardened or reconceived
sometimes the way we wish our lives
would be. “Let me do this
            another way.”

      Pushed to the wall
we fall away from each other
in this heresy. Dispute each other's
lives, as history. Or the common speech
of disaster, lacking a face or name, we give it
ours. And are destroyed by the very virtues
of our ignorance.
                           I am not saying,
“Let the state fuck
its faggots,”
                   only that no fag
                   go unfucked, for purely impersonal

      I am trying to understand
the nightmare of economics. On the phone,
through the mails, I am afraid. I scream
for help. I scream
for help. And none comes, has ever
come. No single redeeming hand
has ever been offered,
                                   even against the excess
                                   of speech, no single redeeming
                                   word, has come
                                   wringing out of flesh
with the imperfect beautiful resolution
that would release me from this heavy contract
of emptiness.
                       Either I am wrong
                       or he is wrong. All right
                       I am wrong, but give me someone
                       to talk to.

SOURCE: Jones, LeRoi (Amiri Baraka). "Hegel," in Black Magic: Collected Poetry, 1961-1967 (Indianapolis; New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1969), pp. 23-24. This poem belongs to an earlier collection of poems called Sabotage, covering the period 1961-63.

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Uploaded 31 January 2009

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