Occupy the Poem

by Neeli Cherkovski

occupy the poem
on its quiet center
and the louder margins

take each letter
and every word
to the limit

cross into emptiness
where memory
tells the story

include endless
observation, spare
not a stone

or a blade of grass.

tell the poem to waltz
over borders,
do not forget to forgive

memory which is merciless.

occupy images
that come alive, do not spare
the wealthy in their enclaves

nor the poor condemned to
the shanty towns, walk the
streets, clear fields

take down the military –
industrial barbed wire divide,
hug the moon

for its splendor
and claim light
that we may abide

occupy the sky
with your sight
and drop – in on inexplicable rhythms

find your poem in the rivers,
go for a language of steep ravines
and freedom’s sure hand

as you travel.

occupy bank vaults,
empty death silos, bring down
the murderers of our tongue

when we should
murder money
tainted by revenge

lift words over barricades,
make the letters run
like cheetahs and soar

ravenesque over
“amber waves,” turn up
the volume on men

who rule over our
song, the poem will ring and
rage, let it come with

the rain, may it fill
the mouth of Wall Street
and run along the avenues

occupy the meaning
in your poem, tell
the silence to make space

and take it, claim
the ground, open
your hand, hold the rose

as it rises, take the poem
to the people, you are “the creature
who runs through the streets”

occupy the enemies
of individual light,
tear the jambs from the doors