The Commune for Unwed Mothers | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
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The Commune for Unwed Mothers 

“the bomb also is a flower”
—William Carlos Williams

the mission
san fransisco
1972.

hard times are coming
the newspapers said
the war is on & on
the tv & radio said
the poor are poorer
the people on the street were saying,

upstairs
in the commune for unwed mothers
things were settling in for the
evening.

the longhaired cuties were cooking
big pots of lentils & rice
garbonzos & umeboshi plums
bok choy & red cabbage
cumin & ginger spiced & sparkled
pans slammed & rattled
pale, sunned & unshaved legs flashed
& moved smoothly over the creaked
wood floorboards.

on the kitchen walls
black & white photos of bearded men
winked across to each other.

the kids were everywhere
popping out of closets & hatboxes
arigorn & sienna
sappho & cloud
django, dylan & galileo
george carver, virgo & gandhi
running crazy beneath the smiling
rogues’ gallery of their way gone
daddies,

elizabeth played her guitar for me
elizabeth, with her torn gingham
dress & magdolene eyes
elizabeth, princess of eternal hope–
carrier of somebody’s flame

I’m gonna make it big someday
she said
i know
i said
i just want it all—to be better
she said
sure you do
i said, handing her the joint,

in the doorway
her three kids
hopped foot to foot
looking for their father, crazyhorse.

outside
totally January.

earthquakes threatened
a wino talked to his chained bear
& vultures circled, looking to
supper on the eyes of a clock

while upstairs
dinner was served
hot & jovial

in the commune for unwed
mothers.

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