The Other

we Others in their city
are an and, a but, and a they
these cities belong to their cars
ready-made roads across meaning
where we dwell in their afterthoughts
in byways that once had the openness of villages
the city is a phenomenon of belief as well as living
that scrapes dust away from romantic ideals
no longer their transported cornucopia
our senses bribed by nothingness
yet questioning whose land
their possibilities of enterprise
as if productivity is redevelopment
and poverty no longer a modern condition

forced from our homelands of barren cattle
money systems intervening from afar
in their city our women are truth
our old heroes turned to stone
what are not wages is naked loss
secret amounts our only achievements
their boasts are lewd, their words: ‘You’re fired’
our expressions deliberately define our empty pockets
her centre is bread and their offering is stone
her room is a stable, her baby swaddled
his ox is a fact that can’t give milk
persevering in our presence
we’re far from their table

beneath their city of dreams
we awaken into our own bodies
waking up to everything that’s real
awakening into their difference and division
where their North shapes power through materials
where they maintain effective societies through controls
where every law protects every thing they’ve developed
let’s enter their dream and see ourselves as we are
see through semantics of us being undeveloped
leave out dependent state and third world
be the opposite of writing a poem
become the poem itself
be the one excluded
recent immigrant
fortune’s apparition
on whom the door closes
one initially of their same worth
once down in a hole in a forest burnt
carrying wood on our backs through their fire
now following a journey from scorched earth to rebuilding

with thanks to John Berger’s The Seventh Man


About Nicholas Power

The poetry of Nicholas Power and his reviews of singular poems in a sequence titled Cadence.
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