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Jerome on his favourite chopper

jerome robinson
was a beautiful, big bear of a man who's soul spoke in his songlike speech and lived through his paintings and poetry. We miss him and remember his lessons, lived in a life expressed in love.
Onward, Jerome!
-- Andrew Lovatt

p a t i s o t a g a m i
(against the grain or current)


: f r a n k   w a l s h

IN MEMORY OF JEROME ROBINSON
as read by the author at Jerome's memorial
reading at the Painted Bride, Philadelphia


Finally prone dismembering the nonevents of another
day of maintaining somebody else's peace so to say I
crawl like claws through dark mounds of my quilt
trying to quit the world for a vacancy without guilt
that is at morning's last toss and turn as short as life
am stopped hovering on the edge of successful defeat
by the wind outside riddled in waves, its rattling
patterns begging my attention like a pulse, like heavy breathing,

I mull over a conscience as if the assassination were eating
since the news reached me I've been feeling sick
a little more than normal, odd for days
and even stranger these past late nights
diminished vulnerable, hollowed out as if
a people's warrior beacon like were extinguished
the black centaur cut down by catastrophe's scythe
the cold hard facts reducing the care-free heart to clay.

What I'm hearing not alone but alone by choice
I heard the Beast return to the city
crashing not only the storm windows and the worn
sashes they are expected to protect
allowing by default the forced air unit to blow into fissures
and holes, more to keep the cold air out than
might warm these middling bones to resigned loss;
the Hunger shouldering the brick facade

half shade, fore boded void, never once light
that had been among us once before another time ago
I remember was in fact invited like a dinner quest,
by the bad intent of invisible governments, to feed upon
the Move men, women, and children alive
block after block, consumed in a firey sacrifice
down in South West Philly, back in 1985.
Like a racing pulse, a hoarse race breathing, calling

attention to its pain, while the world bankers no
doubt and their single children slept
straight through, I note, head down, singleness
heedlessness, the blind desire to commit damage
yeh, the beast was back in town, the one
who still hates the Apaches, its thousand pointless
lidless eyes bulging like melon ballers
scooping our the church bells to their very bellies.

Oh old comrade, father Art, just this side of the 70's and 80's
open hearted Streets where you'd do Malcolm didn't matter
any more nor less and me some crazy fake European post-
Romantic bark bent to, say, Bill Lewis's xylophone bones, and Eliot's cut
gut wrenching cry for a fair piece of the Apple Pie
around Head House Square, or the way back then genuine South
Street of Long March coffee shop and balconies of the first Bride,
(real tits, remember), our asses grass, we didn't pay no mind,

and punched the checks up the Man's snotty nose,
You'd always ever bear hug my duffle of white bones
everytime we'd happen to bump and grind
under the urbane landscape of rusty signs
especially carry out carry on Bacchanal right off the luckiest
of our numbered streets, Thirteen, I second guess
now lying here in grief and loss alone in my low bed,
you had marked my honky arse as being so distraught

and damned by loco traffics, that you simply generously humanly
were giving me some of your gigantic love
to push me through the grim and anxious
ambush of my ignorance, never forgetting that, until this shock
treatment existence passes and my own pirate soul
is spat out into Death's utility sink, no frills unlaced.
Yo, Jerome, Jerome, goateed Bohdisattva come back to us
Soon, maybe Malcolm wasn't relevant anymore, but when you two

Get to rap I imagine he' ll be just a little pissed off
so to speak to us again, recite those words clear
to the other side, the earth's banquet's stocked with
young catfish and still aflow, the door's ever
ajar to drink deeply from as all our beginnings and ends,
the canvasses are stretched, the clays slicks with more
salt than tears, the cycle's tuned, the wheel's turned,
revise, revise, revise. Warrior casualty of our Civil War,
your X signed in the blood of an open heart
for the rest of their life, the neighborhoods turn
open hands to place within your wounds
no longer to believe but to know, to know, to know.

Jerome Robinson comrade at arms just about Fifty
living larger, longer in the tooth than even Lorca
cut down, on the violent channel survived
by his angel companions become guardian angel
of the motorcycles at Market and 61st
beneath the dense shadow of the petrified Elevated
and his green killer has killed two in the act,
tearing a hole in the fabric of the Underground

that this notions nation will no doubt chock full
of golden calf parts and consumer impulse
defuct at the touch as if in cross-hairs
I feel the rage of compassion engorge even for him,
Jerry's killer, even as the beast doubles back for us,
the monster sports the human faces of dysfunctional
families, tuned in to the stations of functional genocide,
sad dead end kid programmed to hate Apaches besides

I should've stirred and went to the besieged
windows or at least the one over my lowly second
hand futon and flung open opening upon the Beast
at least been up front in the trenches, asked
it if I could get it anything, perhaps
from the strainer in the kitchen sink
that would placate, remove the thorn from its wing
at least for the time being so Orange and all

like steel drum embers in the back street, where
the homeless don't have any homeland security
was I fearful because I was told like Theocracy's Job
instead of jobs when this serious work's at hand:
who shall fill the void left with wisdom
given, who will stand firm in Jerome's stead
because of the the bad winds' urge has tasted now
blood again, last Wednesday's ashes scowled.

I hope this violent Nation goes as sudden
as it murders its poets, artists, and youth
the poet of color and consequence deposits not a ghost
upon the white washed stoop, but spirit
and a soul to return more so stronger
and live-long being on his best a Bodhisattva
like a hit single from the days of Mo-town
I see him plainly in the mind's eye, smiling, profound.

[]

(2.14.2003/2.23.2003)
FDWJR.

 

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