Leo Briones

Rookie - 36 Points (6-16-63 / El Paso, TX)

Restate - Poem by Leo Briones

I am no longer
a poet of this generation —
refuse to chisel worn stone,
look into the shadow
of a numb and star empty night
and hold hands with thirsty fat jackals.

For black boots and brown shirts
are a fashion beyond my means
and collusion with old or new media
is a means in which I hear
no answer.
I have walked among the poor
in humid tropical shanties
and dry corrugated spreads.

What a glorious sense
to know their hunger,
to understand their rage—

fist held high and proud
in a rhythmic motion
of guerilla defiance
and the street cool sensation
of love and hate
in the same ferocious scream.

It is impossible to lower your shoulder
and use only foxhole courage and leg drive
to pummel these walls,

walls of old Rome
and electronic Berlin,
walls of skull strewn Phenom Penh
and curvaceous Moscow
walls of the talon tearing, flesh eating
conquering American eagle,

walls pounded
from Congolese uranium and cooper
on this river of darkness in the shadow
of barbarous colonial intent,

river of winds that blow nowhere,
river of wandering currents,
river of passion without purpose,
river of want without glory,
river that neither begins nor ends,
river with no kingdom—

in that river,
I shall not drown.
Of that history,
I am not a poet.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, May 13, 2011

Poem Edited: Saturday, May 14, 2011

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