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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

ODE TO TOM HAYDEN (1939-2016)

by Clara B. Jones

To contest the binary is a political act because
Tom was not class-identified—riding Greyhound
To Manhattan with Casey, coming to the party
On the East Side, wearing jeans as young
Revolutionaries honored his plans to change
America The Beautiful after S.D.S. decreed that
Tactics would be decided by participatory vote
And all households would have no fewer than two
Friends from Cuba where macaw vocalizations
Filter through wet leaves, their raspy staccatos
And showy displays overhead—sounds infusing
Darkness between canopy and soil where
Hermaphrodite earthworms live non-binary lives
As soil engineers for microbes and rhizomes as Tom
Engineered comrades revising theories of profit and
Loss—tools of oppression in Braverman's terms.
SNCC a symbol of our will to re-program synapses
While Tom's persona heralded a terra incognita
Of radical outcomes.

Clara B. Jones is a retired scientist, currently practicing poetry in Silver Spring, MD (USA). As a woman of color, she writes about the “performance” of identity, alienation, and power and conducts research on experimental poetry. Clara is author of two chapbooks, and her poems, reviews, essays, and interviews have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous venues.