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FOR MICHAEL JACKSON
by Steve Koenig

You used to make me cry
and dance all night on the terrace
overlooking the green squares,
kids and bicycles of the projects.
You were my age and black.
Flipping through my 45s and dirty books
We'd spin ABC 1-2-3 times
on the plastic player
on the wooden benches
until the grooves turned
white as your Smokey voice
and Mom would scream
"Change the record already!"
so we'd slowdance, hours in circles
holding hands, mouthing "I'll be there."

The next time I saw you at Coney Island
spinning the wheel
with your friends
the radio blared your voice, raw
"You are the push that I need
You are the song that I sing."

Then: Michael with a Z
with a different sheen
tho you can't deny the grip
of lamé, satin and paternity suits--
Didn't Ben prove it to you?
Didn't my love?

1982
from the book Among The Powder



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