Lonnie Holley, Broken But Still Strong, 2014. Photo: Carl Rojas.
BROKEN BUT STILL STRONG 2014
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.