Sampling by Ralph Angel

I’m standing on 10th Street. I’m not the 
only one. Buildings rise like
              foliage and human touch.

And so shall dig this cigarette as my last,
and rattle trains, and rot the fences
              of the gardens of my body—

or without the harmony of speaking here the
many sounds and rhythms that
              sound a lot like anger

when anger’s silent, like a painting, though
in the stillness of the paint itself
              the painter nods or waves or asks
for help.

I’m not the only one. The pharmacy’s untitled.
The stars are there at night.
              In this Humidity

the forlorn singing of the insects clings to anything
nailed down. A whole bag of
              things I’m working

through, some set things that I know, like words 
I know that mean "from
              one place to another," the word that

"to carry." I’m standing still on 10th Street. I’m 
not the only one.
              The dark tastes of salt and oranges.
Its eyes

wander round and round. I am its thousand windows. 
I think about the future
              and the sea. And stay.

by Ralph Angel

From Exceptions and Melancholies: Poems 1986-2006 by Ralph Angel, published by Sarabande Books, Inc. © 2006 by Ralph Angel


  1. I like his quiet meditation of the world around him. By pinning down isolated moments of his experience, he brings me into his subjective world. And his language is simple, direct.

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