Poem: Henry Done Good

When you can make old men remember childhood 

In suburban glades — it’s the trees that do the trick. 

What a trick!

 The stain of rape, washed away by acres of fruit trees and mown lawns. 

Even birds from Central America want to visit, and then stay. For who needs to go 

When all is perfect. 

What is more perfect, you must have wondered, than a cooling evening breeze, air that smells like romance, light that looks like culture? 

The railroads and the beach, they were nice, sure. 

But of all the things in the collection — and they are, at the end of life, merely things, not cool breezes and the promise of betterment — 

Can anyone say what is most precious? 

The Negroes worked for you. (As did everyone else). Now they sit at your library.


They can be civilized, you see. 

You knew that, of course, somehow, even then, before the fashion. 

How did you get so much? Take so much?

When all you wanted was to throw open the gates, 

Welcome all the colors, 

Show them what you made, what you got and what you took. 

There’s a lesson in all this, surely. 

But we can’t hear it. 

The music is too loud. Too good.

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