Adrienne Rich

Delivered Clean

You’ve got to separate what they signify from what
they are    distinguish
their claimed intentions from the stuff coming
out from their hands and heads    The professor of cultured dynamics
taught us this    They’re disasters    in absentia
really    when supposedly working
Look at the record:
lost their minds wrote bad checks and smoked in bed
and if they were men were bad with women and if they were women
picked men like that or would go with women
and talked too much and burnt the toast and abused all
known substances    Anyone who says
they were generous to a fault putting change
in whoever’s cup if they had it on them    always room for the friend
with no place to sleep    refused to make what they made
in the image of the going thing
cooked up stews that could keep you alive with
gizzards and onions and splashes of raw
red wine    were
loyal where they loved and wouldn’t name names
should remember    said the professor of cultural
dynamics    what
messes they made

The building will be delivered vacant
of street actors    so-called artists in residence
fast-order cooks on minimum wage
who dreamed up a life where space was cheap
muralists doubling as rabble-rousers
cross-dressing pavement poets
delivered clean
of those who harbor feral cats illegals illicit ideas
selling their blood to buy old vinyls
living at night and sleeping by day
with huge green plants in their windows
and huge eyes painted on their doors.

(for Jack Foley)