Saturday, January 25, 2014

Janine Pommy Vega: "Which Side Are You On?"

Where does my anger come from
            at the laziness, the prosaic?
How many times will you enter a room
          and leave it vacant: in and out,
in and out, visiting a temple of possibility
           and never leave a gift on the altar?

Come down to the river of your own soul, we are    
here, the yellow helmets you see are so many
suns on the horizon, going down and coming up
in no particular time sequence or order.
         When one flower opens, Kabir says,
dozens open. I'm digressing.

Every time you visit yourself without
             respect, you lose. Without love,
Read the coins you've thrown down into the dirt,
          they spell integrity. You recall those
early moments in
your young life when you sang. And we were
             witnesses—if not then, now. We can
             see you
outside the ordinary, grab onto a miracle and
understand it was no more you than the

Oh, so that's it, finally:
No more you or me than that mountain
         there. And no mountain either.

                   Which side are you on?

                                       Eastern C.F., Napanoch, NY,
                                       June 6, 1996

"Which Side Are You On?" by Janine Pommy Vega, from Mad Dogs of Trieste: New & Selected Poems. © David R. Godine Publisher, 2000.

Photography credit: "Wreckage around Keansburg Amusement Park, NJ due to Superstorm Sandy," by © Logan Mock-Bunting, 2012 (originally color).

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