Summer/Fall 1997 • Vol. XIX No. 3/4 PoetryJuly 1, 1997 |

Wall-Writing

The busyness of these walls. The scrawls on them,   the names and peeling posters. DOREEN. TRAGIC MAGIC. ARE YOU THERE? I am walking where the city splits from its glossy   exteriors and the streets veer off, cramped and narrow, refusing to be anonymous, clean.   Where the world builds in them—angers, anarchies of scarring, tears. Spraypainted. Glaring and worn.   All these bright colors as if trying to cover a secret, quiet pain, or to make that pain rise through them,   wrapping it in shining swirls and markings, until it shimmers less fretful, less alone.   Lifting it, almost tenderly— infant-soft, fragile—   up into the world … . I pass the store windows, mannequins and flashy glass, my face moving over them, over the line-up of eyes, the limbs,   the usual suspects, broken tribes. So that I am momentarily one of them, frozen, caged,   my face wedged in above the price tags hanging from their wrists. There's the

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