Friday, November 21, 2008

Driving to South Central LA

(Yeats comes to Amerika)

That is not a city for old men. The young
Men are armed, children in the street
--those dying generations--rap beat riding
The boulevards, and in the body-filled bars where
Crack, bullets or aids conspire all summer long.
Many are conceived, some are born, all die.
Trapped in that deadly dance they disparage
Treasure of their intellectual heritage.

An old man gets no respect.
Worn out values stuck to pride, unless
He goes to church and sings and sings louder
For every murder his children leave on the street
Abandoning the schools where all that is taught
Is that the System takes care of itself.
So I got in my car and drove today,
To the violent city of South Central LA.

O homeless mercenaries living on the street
Lost in the shadows around the neon,
Leave your cardboard box, stand by the curb
And come clean out that shit behind my garage.
Fill my heart with guilt; fat from indulgence
And inserted into an atrophied frame,
It has no feeling; let me just pretend
That I am helping you.

When I die I don't want to be
Brought back as a living being,
But with a Madonna body made by Chinese slaves
Of moulded plastic and pink lead paint
To keep a drowsy housewife awake;
Or set upon a taxi dashboard and wave
To the men and women of South Central LA
While the driver tells them all what it is, or what it
aint, or
How it ought to be.

12/18/92

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