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Declaration
by Stephen Sandy


In Memory, Ben Belitt

1

Creak on floorboards,
steps in the next room.
The floorboards groan in mine.
I am an old man in office

positioned to observe.
The time-lapse, the achieving:
no concern of mine.
I will enjoy my rights.


2

Below, he hears voices and cars revving to go,
and they go.
Sometimes the cars return, people
bandy greetings, sweet
nothings of people who are not
friends but have speaking acquaintance.

The hum wafts the day to him,
a sadness—as through torn upholstery
of ancient easy chairs the stuffing
rises


3

Sound of motors in the bay,
tape decks on deck throbbing
nearby, while off Block Island

the whale heaves crusted back
above the waves. We feel
it has not been well for a long time

yet there it goes rising there
in sun, doing its life.
Mother of earth, of sea, dive deep!


4

Lonely men, men alone
smoke in the rain,
Italianate tower scarved in spotlight mist.

Women in pairs
hold each other, shelter, step
doggedly for home.

Who are you by my bed
making my floor groan?


5

Once more peace has been declared,
once more civility decreed.

You have told me again,
once I believed you
once I believed in you.

Always the great pleasure
was coming home
eyes dazzled by colors on walls,
flowers in warm light.


6

Waiting, urging, I
hold myself above
the bowl.—Nothing.

This is the beginning
of who I never was.


7

The card she sent paints Jesus
showing hungry people
the pizza he has provided.

Tibetan gurus
hid their teachings
for any and all deserving
enough to find them.

Where am I? Who are you
whose steps sound on my floorboards?


8

Your journey, those lines—
fated to obscurity
by chic themes, by Disneyed lands—

like an animal
at sun-washed noon
who takes his stroll

sniffing about hillsides
to the numerous and
signifying nooks he knows.

No one goes with him,
the jaunt forgot,
perhaps even by himself, yet it

is marked in grasses for another
creature to take the very walk
another day.

Poem available in Salmagundi No. 150-151.
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