I Imitate You, by Tongo Eisen-Martin
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Protector, by David Shrobe © The artist. Courtesy Thierry Goldberg Gallery, New York City


I Imitate You


1960s newspaper clippings and teeth hang on a string—Like a book of life

I’m in the kitchen with my killer
Picking all the teeth out of a mouth harp
Cigarette-ing a pen
Calling Black Fire to prayer

With the mouth harp prepared:

Ladies and gentlemen: we know what you all are not doing.
Mainly you all are not leaving the universe to its childhood.

A church signals another church with mirrors and nose-drips
The spirit-world up and starts murdering city trees

Our psychic re-break
sleeping-in-my-car Sunday chores
allegory of new hard r’s
Or folktale about a wolf’s tongue in the cartons of cheap milk

“May the white citizens’ council steady your hand.”
     Artists ordered to embroider “Enemy of the people” onto millions of pillowcases.

I talked to class-less people today
They were not essentially overworked nor military captains
They were not wage-washed nor inbred in a Victorian series

Maybe I am the last white man on earth

All I dream is physical death
Thinking about God/and God empty

In clumps of prison, my poem
          my cubist-remade scar
          my Saturn for adults
          my junkie industrialism

I knew my father as much as I want to be known