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Fists on Fire: Poetry from the Heart of the Revolution

THE HOUSE OF THE SETTING SUN

by Jack Hirschman

"Become a rag again and the poorest may wave you"
-- Pier Paolo Pasolini

I put my mouth to your misery, New Orleans,
inundated and soaking with death.
Here lies: war lies piled so high, this floating
prison of a cemetery cries out of rage
at the end of its breath. Here, in the last delta,
Desire lies on its side, is rolled, and rolled
over upon by its own government, and crushed.
Summertime is over and the livin' is dead,
and 'round midnight all hopes are looted.
No one will come clean of the Katrina
of New Orleans in this sinking
house of the setting sun.
Bodies so Black and so blue from loving
what wouldn't spit on their shoes if they
needed a shine. Let alone a dime. Or water.
America, you were always scorched earth
in our mouths, always a baptism of crap,
always a rain of disaster streaming
down the panes of our broken eyes.
Now our rags are the most torn,
our jazz the most blue, our poor the poorest
that can be worn in the soul's thrift-shop.
Now that all is lost and there's only nothing
to loseĀ…"Long live the courage
and the sorrow and the innocence of the poor!"
The real flag's in tatters. Begin to wave it.


People's Tribune
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