Spring 2012 • Vol. XXXIV No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 2012 |

A Prayer

Great Ooga-Booga, in your golden pavilion beside the dung heap, please don't let me die in a public place. I still see the man on the café floor at the airport beneath a canopy of florescence, somewhere in the Midwest or back East, travelers walking around him & texting on cell phones while someone shocked him back, fiddling with dials & buttons on a miraculous instrument. Was the memory of a dress in his head? Great Ooga-Booga, forgive me for wearing out my tongue before I said your praises. No, I haven't mastered the didgeradoo. I don't have an epic as a bribe. My words are simple. Please don't let me die gazing up at a streetlight or the Grand Central facades. Let me go to my fishing hole an hour before the sun sinks into the deep woods, or let me swing on the front porch, higher & higher till I'm walking on the ceiling.

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Yusef Komunyakaa’s seventeen books of poetry include Taboo, Dien Cai Dau, Neon Vernacular (for which he received the Pulitzer Prize), Warhorses, and most recently The Chameleon Couch and Testimony. His many honors include the William Faulkner Prize (Universite Rennes, France), the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Award for Poetry, and the 2011 Wallace Stevens Award. His plays, performance art, and libretti have been performed internationally and include Saturnalia, Testimony, and Gilgamesh: A Verse Play. He teaches at New York University.

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By Yusef Komunyakaa

Great Ooga-Booga, in your golden pavilion beside the dung heap, please don't let me die in a public place. I still see the man on the café floor at the […]

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