By Louis McKee

This afternoon I stood on the corner
of Eighth and Lombard
where Dizzy Gillespie cut the hand
damn near off a man because
he was white and thought
that gave him the right
to harass any black man who passed
with a look on his face
that might have said I've got money
in my pocket, I'm lucky, and maybe
the look also said something
about not taking any shit from anybody.
Maybe it did. Forty-five years later,
and all the faces that passed me
today were white. Nothings changed.
Some of the white faces said things
about money, some even about shit,
but none of them seemed worried
about getting harassed, and none
was likely to have a knife in his pocket
ready to cut into any threat.
No one that passed today looked to me
like they had a trumpet
at home, like they could blow the lights out,
turn the bright day to night
and with quick magicians fingers
steal changes from the quiet sky
and make stars right before my eyes.


By Louis McKee

"In a time of Revolution for instance
I could have fucked her"

--Lawrence Ferlinghetti

In another time, in another place,
I could have gotten her
attention, could have wooed her
with my allegiances, my afffectations,
recited to her a poem
laden with revolution and romance,
one I drew just for her--her lovely eyes
and wonderful long hair--from the heart,
from Brautigan, or from Ferlinghetti.
There was a time and a place
where beautiful people walked
with the rest of us. We all carried signs,
wore buttons, and damned things
that made no sense. We stood together
in crowds, sang the same songs.
They couldn't tell us
apart, the radicals and angels,
and when they gassed us they gassed us all.
The night we took over
the offices in College Hall, after
the commotion died down, and even
the public defiance squad parked across the street
was nodding off over cold coffee,
I was stoned enough on the events of the day
that I sprawled out next to the prettiest girl
on campus and used her
blanket against the cold tile floor,
but kept my distance, that few
tremendous inches between our bodies,
and stayed there for hours, my breath
stretching to reach the hairs at her neck,
waiting for her to turn, to change
positions, to join the revolution.


By Louis McKee

From the place where I am
it is easy, but still confusing.
There are women I want
to fuck, to make love to;
most of them do not know it.
I'm bothered by this fucking
or loving thing, more than
I should be, uncertain what it is
I'm thinking at any given time.
They are safe, these women,
except in my head; but there
they are safe, too, complicitous
in the act, whatever the act
might be, fucking, loving,
something in between. Two dogs
were coupling wildly out in left field
at the park last week--what was it?
I want the dogs to be in love,
whatever they are doing, for how-
ever long it lasts. Its better,
living, life, and everything
about it, when there is love.
It is easy, but still confusing.

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