Is it valuable

it it even current coin

that’s what you say about a wheat penny

 

 

frozen assets                       frozen architecture

and frozen Sara Lee chocolate cake EATEN RAW

(don’t look for me in this one, folks

I’m not in this one)

I armed myself against indignities!

 

they were obsolete

when I was born

 

obols

to speed the dead

 

some of them

made a big impression

 

 

Now Leonard Bernstein, that was ’89 for certain sure and I read it at a breakfast place on Shattuck, it’s all panhandlers now. They seemed to make the world bigger, then

(obituaries,

not panhandlers)

 

 

I guess that poetry has shot its bolt on Lincoln

on wheat, too

I bought that Brahms on Deutsche Grammophon just because its cover reminded me of a gold medal

and the Drake Brasse a forgery (alasse)

O trespassing o skateboarding, o Impromptu Speaking!

 

 

it’s been a long time since anyone asked am I “black”

people like me

look like this

 

 

so what has WILDERNESS to do with thee or me,

or wildlife either, what kind of experiment is it

where you grow corn for forty years?

the first time I felt my own heat I knew what it meant

 

I can always

get

where I was going later

 

 

 

Benjamin Griffin is from Berkeley, California. He was educated in the public schools there, and at Cambridge University. He is an editor at the Mark Twain Project in the Bancroft Library, Berkeley, whose most recent publications include the Autobiography of Mark Twain. In addition to poetry he has published essays on Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Tudor prose, and folklore.