Give Us a Floor
Give us a floor we can drag a chair over And leave a mark A hardwood floor that can take a lot of dancing We want a floor that you leave your shoes on and tap when you like A floor you can jump on Give us a floor where a kid can bang a hammer for an hour And no one cares We want a good flat floor strong enough for a piano or two A floor that can bear the weight of ten bass amps Fifty stomping bikers on choppers And still be fine for yoga in the morning It is important to have a floor you can fall on A floor good for trying risky positions Tipsy calisthenics Maybe one day we’ll want to invite Multi-faith obesity groups intent on leaping and praying A floor equipped to bear them all And still take a child’s lightest footfall With never the creak of any small floor complaint A floor to hold up the elephants And hippopotami A floor, please, to take the great weight of human hearts Held in thrall by mere matter By love by stampede We want a floor to bear seven generations Each unfolded out of the other All at once in a great hootenanny and holler A floor to bear the greatest table ever made For a feast where no one’s missing We don’t want some poor flat excuse We don’t want some bottom-line trapdoor We want a floor to hold the world up when it’s exhausted A floor to keep the sky on when it’s drained and dry And ready to fall It’s time we had the floor Give us the floor
for Martin Luther King, Jr.
Whatever else words have done It is good they came together In such a way from your soul that day And you said it for all time To all people A dream that won't be denied Not in this life Not in the next And here's to the imperfect Who marched anyway And here's to the protected Who left their safety To demonstrate And you Martin Brave, imperfect, practical and holy My favorite American The greatest orator of hope Ever captured on a camera I add once more to all the waters Wept at your words, my tears again Today Yes, but new hope too! In that way You are not gone— In that way You are ever new— Every day people still get New hope from you
With a dark mark My intent is known All my power contracts Smaller than a pupil To provide one ink drop Of ocean More countable Than blessings And I may have to walk A mile for this I may have to stand in line With hundreds Fixing the bulls eye Firmly in mind Every mark for now A sacred star compressed A massive black dot Telescoped To a tiny circumference Of suffrage Secret Explosive or not I fold it in upon itself And slip my will into the slot
More Than Never
More than never Possibly as often As always If not, absolutely Somewhere In between But who's counting We happen We live More than never And less than always We learn Or not The quanta Do not vary by fractions They double or halve We may not be The same awareness But we share A hinge We all swing Into one frame Doors To one interior How often with one touch Do we all open at once? More than never Possibly not enough
One Day I Predict
One day I predict We’ll be amazed At our strength We will look at one another Astonished and say We didn’t think we could do this One day the path will be so clear We will all say: it’s obvious And we will hardly believe We couldn’t see the way before One day I predict We’ll have this great true story to tell A kind of anti-Iliad For the coming age Involving all of us Who think we are not warriors And all of us who fear We are not brave
The poems One Day I Predict and Give us a Floor were first published in the book Previously Feared Darkness by Robert Priest (ECW Press).
Read more about Robert Priest and some other poems in The BeZine blog.
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