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MICHAEL JAY PRICE
Poems


UNLESS THERE'S MAGIC
         for Ben Webster
 
Utility gray. Somersault penguin. Wire, cloth. Boy,
his hand blown off, smiles at cameras. Hearts sometimes go out;
 
as often retract. Petroleum's
hurting the sea. People the trees. The people. People. 
 
How resolve cracker jacks and the blood of Jesus --
thousands of once happy eyes. How do dogs have heart; 
 
and toy passions we cats play, one by one, reveal
what pieces of a dream remain. She, who loves her daughter, 
 
loves all. Builds, unbuilds, contrives, leaves her lover.
Soul's bigger than the body, wants to burst the body, wants -- 
 
but the cells replace. Roles, professions and roles. Too much to blame, and alone,
he hears still those bells of Notre Dame as if he'd been there.



NEVER NO LAMENT
             for Gilbert Sorrentino
             (cento based on titles of songs Duke Ellington's band played)
  
Rumpus at Richmond bridge. Georgia grind. Rio Grande.
Eerie Mississippi moon. Cottontail dusk and
  
Birmingham alley. Skrontch. A jam, sugar. What blues
he got he got bad; this Ragamuffin Romeo. You,
  
you darlin' it's you, his Goose: that brown gown and
brown skin, all too soon, in a Dixie roadside diner; Delta bound.
  
He never felt this way before. Sad Harlem sidewalks lately
echoing a downtown breakdown; little air or light off air shafts. 
 
His greatest mistake: the girl in his dreams tries to look like you.
Take a raincheck? An "A" train? What good would it do, Jack?
  
He's got a rocks in his bed all night and day mood. The girl
in his dreams tries to look like you. You darlin' it's you.
 


MOURNING'S LESION
            for Pee Wee Russell 
 
As many facts as facets, faces as facts allow.
Man like a cliché at home or not may seem
housed as is his wish within. Without, lies fiction.
  
The child. The mother. Father, darkness
of disbelief the factor or dividend he leaves, how
while life remains can a man remain a man.

 



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