June Poetry Day 22- Outlaw Poetry Micheline, Rodriguez

Posted: June 22, 2011 in poetry
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June Poetry Day 22- Outlaw Poetry Micheline, Rodriguez

One of my favorite poetry collections of all time is the book, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry edited by Allan Kaufman.  Two of my favorite poems from this book are below.


HIDING PLACES  ~Jack Micheline

There are hiding places in my room
where beautiful poems are hidden
Poems hidden away in boxes
on sheets of brown paper
Poems of spirit and magic
workers hands hidden in boxes
beautiful thighs
there are blue skies hidden in my room
dolphins and seagulls
the heaving of breasts and oceans
there are skies in my room
there are streets in my room
there are a thousand nights hidden in boxes
there are drunks in my poems
there are a million stars on the roof of my room
all hidden away in boxes
there are steps down side streets
there is a crazed eye of a poet in my room
there are old Arabs exploring the desert near Escalon
there are sparrows and bluebirds and wildcats in my room
there are elephants and tigers
there are skinny Italian girls in my room
there are letters from Peru and England
and Germany and Russia in my room
There are the steps of Odessa in my room
the Volga river in my room
there are dreams in the night of my room
there are flowers
there is the dance of affirmation in my room
the steps of young poets carrying knapsacks full of poems
there are the Pictures of an Exhibition in my room
Moussorgsky and Shostakovich
and Charlie Mingus in my room
Composers and painters all singing in my room
all hidden away in boxes
one night when the moon is full
they will come out and do a dance


To the police officer who refused to
sit in the same room as my son because
he’s a “gang banger”:

How dare you!
How dare you pull this mantle from your sloven
sleeve and think it worthy enough to cover my boy.
How dare you judge when you also wallow in this mud.
Society has turned over its power to you,
relinquishing its rule, turned it over
to the man in the mask, whose face never changes,
always distorts, who does not live where I live,
but commands the corners, who does not have to await
the nightmares, the street chants, the bullets,
the early-morning calls, but looks over at us
and demeans, calls us animals, not worthy
of his presence, and I have to say: How dare you!
My son deserves to live as all young people.
He deserves a future and a job. He deserves
contemplation. I can’t turn away as you.
Yet you govern us? Hear my son’s talk.
Hear his plea within his pronouncement,
his cry between the breach of his hard words.
My son speaks in two voices, one of a boy,
the other of a man. One is breaking through,
the other just hangs. Listen, you who can turn away,
who can make such a choice; you who have sons
of your own, but do not hear them!
My son has a face too dark, features too foreign,
a tongue too tangled, yet he reveals, he truths,
he sings your demented rage, but he sings.
You have nothing to rage because it is outside of you.
He is inside of me. His horror is mine. I see what
he sees. And if my son dreams, if he plays, if he smirks
in the mist of moon glow, there I will be, smiling
through the blackened, cluttered and snarling pathway
toward our wilted heart.

  1. Two great poems. I’ll have to seek out this Outlaw Poetry book. Sounds interesting!

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