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Wednesday, July 12, 2006


by Ruth-Miriam Garnett

I am here deliberately, but not intentionally.
It is not where I need to be, except here,
I can avoid loneliness, interruptions, questions,
see my sun-haired sister, my kind nephews.
As is typical for a New Yorker, I am suspicious
of the nice people. In the coffee place with the cute name,
the coffee sucks, the bagels and brownies suck,
as well. I miss the givens of New York City,
a good bagel, great coffee everywhere,
though I am suspicious of any capitalist
who smiles or who is concerned that I do not.

Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.
Motherfuck, they know precisely what they do.
It is moreso a question of empathy, where it prevails,
where it falters. Like empathy for cowboy chic,
poor white people, their hair. I don't have any.
I really do hate them. For it. And don't let them
open their mouths and desecrate the English of the king
with that twang shit. Speaking of which, Condoleeza,
my workshop people tell me, does what her boss tells her
to do, to keep her job. According to Aaron McGruder,
her job is killing people. According to Ruth-Miriam Garnett,
so was Colin's, and politics has an ethics that wavers,
but then, all ethics waver, all civilizations wane.

Death, how ever, is for ever, as well, the lines we cross,
smiling, as we prepare to drink the blood of an enemy;
I learned recently some aggressive monkeys do this,
while some peaceful monkeys have a lot of sex.
Maybe Condoleeza should fuck her boss, turn him out,
resign, then volunteer for future fucking. Maybe then,
the two of them could work together to cultivate
avoidance issues, like how to avoid the genocide
of African Americans in coastal regions,
the viagra bombing of Afghanis on camels.

Consider morality by default as delusion, as nihilist.
Consider, nothing falls straight by accident.
I know; I have a Dirt Devil.

Ruth-Miriam Garnett is author of a novel, Laelia, published in January 2004 by Simon & Schuster/Atria Books and A Move Further South (poems, 1987; Third World Press, Chicago). Her poems have appeared in Black Scholar, Callaloo, Essence, New Rain, Pivot, River Styx, Steppingstones and in the anthologies In Search of Color Everywhere (Stewart, Tabori, Chang, New York, NY 1995) and Beyond the Frontier: African American Poets in the 21st Century (Black Classic Press, Baltimore, MD, 2002) and her essays most recently in The Green Magazine and the NNPA website. "Austin Journal #1" (© 2006; Onegin Publishing) will appear in her new volume of poems, Concerning Violence, out later this year from Onegin Publishing.