Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
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[To those of us who would rather be alive]

To those of us who would rather be alive
Than not alive, unbaked rather than baked, ruth

Rather than ruthless, reck rather than reckless,
Can we not think of ourselves as the blue lines

A child makes that become rivers, or
The smile of someone replacing the smile of

Someone else, because even though in our
Gut of guts rage riots, and because the pen

That runs out of ink is still a pen, has recalescence
And wit, can write reconnaissance in the air

For everyone to recognize, to unrebel, unruffled,
To undulate in late spring, full of raceme

And rain, and if for all this there is a reason,
Such as late supper on a great lawn, layer upon

Layer of love, the thin sound of crying followed
By the laughs that track happiness,

And for the rest of us, for kindness to the unkind
And the unhinged, those who don’t turn around

When someone might sweetly call their name, and those
Who know all their names, the good and the bad,

Those who say as did Blaise Pascal that they are “amazed
To see” themselves “here rather than there,” there

Being there, whereas here is here, here we
Know, here we know ourselves, without barbs

Or chains, without any ID that anyone would ask for,
First breath or last, to hold in as long as we can.


“there is no reason for me to be here rather than there, now rather than then,” Pascal, dead at 39, 1662; race riot; raceme: inflorescence of the lily of the valley; racemus: a bunch of grapes; running out of ink; rainwear, rainsquall, rain; rena: sand in Italian; raison d’être, to be a raisin; Raleigh also introduced the potato to Europe; retread; rebarbative, prickly, repellent; rebel, to make war, bellare, bellum; ruth: compassionate of another; ruthless, ruthful; recalescence: sudden glowing of a cooling metal; réchauffé: leftovers; recherché: to research; recidivist: fall back, re-cadere; reck: to have caution; how is it that recoil is related to buttocks?; réclame: taste for publicity; rectrix: stiff tail feathers of a bird; reconnaissance: to recognize    

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