Like Rousseau

Amiri Baraka

· Poem of the day

Like Rousseau

She stands beside me, stands away,

the vague indifference

of her dreams. Dreaming, to go on,

and go on there, like animals fleeing

the rise of the earth. But standing

intangible, my lust a worked anger

a sweating close covering, for the crudely salty soul.

Then back off, and where you go? Box of words

and pictures. Steel balloons tied to our mouths.

The room fills up, and the house. Street tilts.

City slides, and buildings slide into the river.

What is there left, to destroy? That is not close,

or closer. Leaning away in the angle of language.

Pumping and pumping, all our eyes criss cross

and flash. It is the lovers pulling down empty structures.

They wait and touch and watch their dreams

eat the morning.

—Amiri Baraka (S O S: Poems 1961-2013)

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