Jack Hirschman is a San Francisco poet, translator, and editor. His powerfully eloquent voice set the tone for political poetry in this country many years ago. Since leaving a teaching career in the ’60s, Hirschman has taken the free exchange of poetry and politics into the streets where he is, in the words of poet Luke Breit, "America’s most important living poet." He is the author of numerous books of poetry, plus some 45 translations from a half a dozen languages, as well as the editor of anthologies and journals. Among his many volumes of poetry are Endless Threshold, The Xibalba Arcane, and Lyripol (City Lights, 1976).

 


THE MOTHERLOVE ARCANE

1.

The talky, yabbery
empty-headedness
of It, which is the
USA, Hollywood
be its fame,

approaching the day
devoted to the body
from which we all came;
the screamingly funny,
lethally hysterical,

digitally channeled
situation comedy,
the humiliating
Mommaday,
about her who

sustains, nurses,
fights for, grows,
suffers, possesses
and lets go of us,
who has her own

job, puts in her time
like any man, puts in
more time than any
man, makes less bux
than most men,

is more enslaved,
more burdened yet
smiles through all
fights. loves saying
Nice, and fights on.


2.

I love you, Momma,
even if you’re three
years dead, love you
in any woman. You


made me a Red,

or rather lead me to
the hallway where
Terry Winter read me
poems of Paul Eluard
before we necked

and afterward gave
me the address of
Young Progressive
League. Anybody
stupid enough like

Henry Miller to say
he hates his mother
can laze around
anarchist heaven
with the rest of

the famous flops.
Anybody says a
word against—I
mean Motherland,—
I’ll be happy giving

him a red nose
courtesy Nellie
my momma, my
bowler, cane and,
between my lips,
the rose.

 

 

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