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Beats In Kansas: The Beat Generation in the Heartland


DOMINION and other poems
by Alan Russo, 1977

Cover art by Robert Branaman

The additions to his kingdom are frequent and large.
It grows stealthily, but by leaps and bounds,
and though you may not read it in the papers,
each day new territories are annexed.
He has such an appetite, he is like a dark king
who buys wineyards so that he may watch
the grapes growing from his castle walls and see them
trampled beneath the exquisite feet of his minions
until he holds the bottle in his hands, and,
feeling his power, fondles the succulent child.
Our king will greatly extend his holdings
when he scents ripe fruit; you may
welcome nightfall in a land you thought safe
and awake to see his tokens everywhere;
the street signs give forth hitherto hidden meanings,
the fruit on the table exudes a soft, calculating evil,
the clock is tense, expectant, spelling out a deathly
You may see his marks on a wife, a daughter;
though they keep their shells, you know they are his:
When you speak to them, it is into his pendant,
       jewelled ear;
When they reply, it is from his great slow lips;
And, most awful, when they look at you, it is with his
       cool, misty eyes.
All you who climb the stair or walk the road,
toiler, or trifler, nightflyer or daycrawler,
you will open your window for morning sun
and feel his warm glue on your face; you will
buy a ticket to Utopia under an assumed name
and wake the first morning to see
his tents line the horizon, all around.

© 1960-1977 Alan Russo; Page © 2011 George Laughead
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