The World - Poem by STANLEY PACION
True, though now it seems strange, when I look back,
Relate the times which once were mine.
I see the men from Columbia
Easy in their thousand-dollar suits
With their handsome shirts and special neckties,
And me riding as a guest
In the back-seat comfort of their limousines,
I recall those gents had super-cool, Castilian accents.
I remember, too, those, my other buddies,
Back, when they were standing tall,
And we, the boys, were out on the town;
We had ticket to the premier, opening night of The World.
And though we dwelt in Village East,
We were packin’, packin’,
Might have been figures playing cowboy,
Ready for justice out in the Old West
I hear the voice of that dazzle, the black woman,
Who, though she sang backup,
Her timbre commandeered the band.
She sang above the whirling electronic rifts,
Above the sound, which the guitars and piano hammered,
A harmony, then to a counter-melody,
A contralto with a volume which reached right up, it hit
The wall behind the last row of the ballroom balcony.
I recollect the people scream, “Oh, Sister! ”
I smell the spray paint, fresh upon the scrim.
It stupefies me how that past, it still reigns,
Though much, so much else
Over time tumbles and disappears.
Right before me, I see, see, the images of the dead,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
And for those who survived, when truth is said,
Hear it, hear it!
Let it reverberate among circle of friends,
Declare it in the rooms and down the corridors,
Where the living have stacked the chairs,
Or have folded them and put them aside
So to clear the way and let others know safe passage.
Let it be known, there we go, lost, dead,
But for the Grace, for it is Grace, alone,
Which brings us hope of daily reprieve,
Each morning after morning, a day at a time.
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