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Lonnie Holley, Broken But Still Strong, 2014. Photo: Carl Rojas.


for Lonnie Holley


By Stan Cohen

Sixty-some years, having been nowhere,

born there, stepped on, shit upon,

but refusing to let Mother Universe

give me other than a thumbs up so I too

can give one to you with what you see,

what I sing to you with my fingers pressing

organ keys when I want them to, not when I'm told,

because I don't like listening to trash.

Instead I recycle it, take tree tie threads

and use them a dozen times, so each can tell a story

about you that you haven't heard, not my way

at least, not with My TRUTH told by rusted faces

that see sideways. These metal gardens testify,

do they knot? And they cry. And they call.


They tell me my thirty years of making art

ain't over. Just beginning, maybe. Like my friend,

Mr. Dial, pushing up out of his wheelchair

to stress his canvas, stretch another boundary. We're not going to bury ourselves no more,

piece by piece buy peace. Put them instead

on clean white walls and let the

insiders walk all around them, see still strong broken bits that didn't die with Rauschenberg,

spoked bicycles and shredded tractor tires

that climbed on abandoned scaffolding

from his grave into my hands, that need

my unmuffled motor to take us both,

proud but tarnished, onto history's page

Stan Cohen is a poet, who is always interested in art and poetry in all their forms.

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