Poem 39 in Solidarity: from “Atlas”

by Suzanne Gardinier

from “Atlas” 


These streets / Whose / No meetings permitted / Streets with drifts of blossom but no fruit

Streets clamoring with heretic voices / Untamed and tamed and untamed again

A house to evict you A market to confiscate / A map to make you lose your way

Will you punish me for history she says / What will you undertake he says


And these words / Used to make the bindings / And to cut them Made merchandise Cheap as piss

As breath / Every crevice with its message not yet / translated Caught in the city’s throat

A writ of eviction Of emancipation / This poem with an illegible address

Paper kiss Paper yoke Recipes / Leaflets on the backs of bills of sale


If you can say it so I can hear you / If I can listen If we can find

If you recognize him If you keep her near you / If the water comes slowly enough

If there’s time

If / Two letters to stand for what’s possible / Written on the jacket of the split winter bud

In the fabric of language Common as dirt / If / May / Come the morning / Might have been / Might be


The terms of keeping a heart strong for fighting / To laugh in the smoke by the place of exchange

All right Later she says Instead of I’m done now / And he says See you girlfriend instead of goodbye

How they break the compact that keeps them strangers / How she learns her own ears from the sound of his voice

Her letters among others they find when they take him / Written on his tongue and the palms of his hands


For that we kept beside each other /  In a place they said wasn’t ready yet

For that I knew you Your verve and persistence / Your laugh in the pit Your dance in the yoke

As you made your living The traces lasting / generations in all directions

As you locked arms and turned in the wind of destruction / Toward what you lived for / A glimpse of a free place

For the flesh In its clenched or loosened beauty / In its integrity In its needs

For the streets From a place for buying and selling / To a place to unlearn to mistake your face

And for words Baby I’ma help tear this shit / up / End to swindled end / Tear it down

To the free place to come and all flesh / shall see it together / Come the day

Poverty- the real root of terrorism

Poverty- the real root of terrorism

Suzanne Gardinier  is a writer who has been trying to learn the meaning of the word ‘solidarity’ since she was sixteen.  She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and lives between Manhattan and Havana.



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