Poem of the Day: Way Out West
February 27th, 2015 by

As simple an act
as opening the eyes. Merely   
coming into things by degrees.

Morning: some tear is broken   
on the wooden stairs
of my lady's eyes. Profusions   
of green. The leaves. Their   
constant prehensions. Like old   
junkies on Sheridan Square, eyes   
cold and round. There is a song   
Nat Cole sings . . . This city   
& the intricate disorder   
of the seasons.

Unable to mention   
something as abstract as time.

Even so, (bowing low in thick   
smoke from cheap incense; all   
kinds questions filling the mouth,   
till you suffocate & fall dead   
to opulent carpet.) Even so,

shadows will creep over your flesh   
& hide your disorder, your lies.

There are unattractive wild ferns   
outside the window
where the cats hide. They yowl   
from there at nights. In heat   
& bleeding on my tulips.

Steel bells, like the evil
unwashed Sphinx, towing in the twilight.   
Childless old murderers, for centuries   
with musty eyes.

I am distressed. Thinking
of the seasons, how they pass,
how I pass, my very youth, the
ripe sweet of my life; drained off . . .

Like giant rhesus monkeys;   
picking their skulls,
with ingenious cruelty
sucking out the brains.

No use for beauty
collapsed, with moldy breath   
done in. Insidious weight   
of cankered dreams. Tiresias'   
weathered cock.

Walking into the sea, shells   
caught in the hair. Coarse   
waves tearing the tongue.

Closing the eyes. As   
simple an act. You float

Amiri Baraka, "Way Out West" from Transbluesency: The Selected Poems of Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones, 1961-1995 (New York: Marsilio Publishers, 1995). Copyright ? 1995 by Amiri Baraka. Reprinted with the permission of Sll/Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc.

Source: Transbluesency: The Selected Poems of Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones 1961-1995 (1995)

Amiri Baraka

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