Poets Walk: "a gift on the altar"
Location on Poets Walk Map: 38
Which Side Are You On? by Janine Pommy Vega
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
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 Correctional Facility, Napanock, NY, June 6,1996
Janine Pommy Vega., "Which Side Are You On?" from Mad Dogs of Trieste: New & Selected Poems (Black Sparrow Books, 2000). Copyright © 2000 by Janine Pommy Vega. Used by permission of Bob Arnold, Literary Executor for the Estate of Janine Pommy Vega.