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The Brutalist

I've learned nothing. It was with me
then and always, every day a burning house
and me running into the street

with nothing but my lamentations, awful sounds.
And the alarms that sang when spoken to,
the stern involuntary muscles.

When I was hungry I tightened my belt,
if I wanted words I clenched my teeth.
I could hear the seconds boil up in a wristwatch.

And the words that dissolved into hard letters,
hooked into me, harmless, but forever hooks,
I ground down after them.

I had a slack face and an answer more convincing
than the pressure bulges in a weather front,
when things were difficult.

And when the easy people came, who laughed
and knew how to come back from laughing,
I knew what that was too.

I said that's old, it was always old,
I said, and I referred to my experiences.
And my words rang.

Benjamin Bloch

Sheep Meadow Press

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