June 26, 2006

"Now is then’s only tomorrow."

by Eugene Plawiuk - Le Revue Gauche

Kenneth Patchen was and is an underrated American poet, a surrealist, an anarchist, a founder of the Beat movement, a painter and illustrator.

The Hangman's Great Hands
And all that is this day. . .
The boy with cap slung over what had been a face. ..
Somehow the cop will sleep tonight, will make love to his

Anger won't help. I was born angry. Angry that my father was
being burnt alive in the mills; Angry that none of us knew
anything but filth, and poverty. Angry because I was that very
one somebody was supposed To be fighting for
Turn him over; take a good look at his face...
Somebody is going to see that face for a long time.

I wash his hands that in the brightness they will shine.
We have a parent called the earth.

To be these buds and trees; this tameless bird Within the
ground; this season's act upon the fields of Man.

To be equal to the littlest thing alive,
While all the swarming stars move silent through The merest

. .. but the fog of guns.

The face with all the draining future left blank. . . Those smug

saints, whether of church or Stalin, Can get off the back of
my people, and stay off. Somebody is supposed to be fighting
for somebody. . . And Lenin is terribly silent, terribly silent
and dead. November 1937

"There are so many little dyings that it doesn't matter which of them is death."


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