We push our wooden lives on daily nightmare.
The sun perches on our backs; moon rakes
into our eyes; the earth knifes beneath
like sharpened scythe: silently we perish….
Our carts of dream drag through the mists
gaining the caves & dead-ends of our task;
Nobles expose their hearts (O Words, not Deeds!)
& blindly each dawn goodnight we greet.
The Civil Guards, bulls & ruthless, stampede
down our suspect fangs & narrow faces,
bereaving us in a palmless, whimful siege.
The law, after all, guards from menace and disease.
(Our land of vision is hollow, our voices dead)
At the Court of Justice the human balance tips:
“Throw for lack of identity, bastards of the mill!”
We’re finally stamped of our birthmark filth….
The cell stares, yawning exile & decision
as obscene faces strike the ruler’s imprecision,
selecting from among the driftwood of our pains,
like writing on the wall the questions reverent.
Nothing, none at all, save fragments of memories…
O have we become stones, numerous & still?
To sleep, thus dream? Pray, for centuries we did!
& blankly we smash the bars, rioting to live!
From Voices of Violence, 1971