Michael S. Harper: Communication 102

AT THE MOMENT
by Michael S. Harper

[While listening to John Coltrane’s “Moments Notice” on NPR
June 29, 1998 (W. Warren Harper’s birthday)]


There is hurt and no balm gilead
for Saint Jude is my patron saint

the room I was given at monastery
retreat in Esopus, New York

so I conjured Sean Connery in Chicago
Untouchable on his belly in blood

gasping for his medal
which he hoped would protect him

The view from Saint Jude's window
of the Hudson River

is just south of my father's birthplace
and dayboats collapse and carouse

in the shallows and deeps
of this polluted artery

to and from salt water
in the Dutch waterways of the new world

which was never new to the Esopus:
Josephus Long's little bug on 9 W to Esopus

in the mainline to New Paltz
and his staggered classes on Wiltwyck's

schedule of drugged and manacled boys
with a 600 school and volunteer mennonites

all any boy needs when homeless
abandoned abused anointed in herring runs

on the runaway trail to steep medications
team meetings and records of shrink and case worker

three at a time batteries in the arsenal
of a schedule so you can get back to the Apple

whose eye is family missing in action
not about to be found in any monastery
except for Saint Jude every lost cause
in the mercy side of the New Testament

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