Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MOUNTAIN, by HAYDEN CARRUTH

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE MOUNTAIN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Black summer, black vermont. Who sees
Last Line: Really there?
Subject(s): Mountain Life - Vermont; Vermont

Black summer, black Vermont. Who sees
this mountain rising nearby
in the darkness? But we

know it there. On the other side
in a black street of a black city
a man who is probably black

carries a Thompson
submachine gun, and don't
tell me how that feels

who carried one two years
in Italy; blunt-barreled power,
smooth simple unfailing mechanism

-- the only gun whose recoil
tugs you forward, toward
the target, almost

like love. Separated
by this immense hill we share nevertheless
a certain knowledge of tactics

and a common attitude toward reality.
Flickering neon, like moonlight in beech leaves,
is fine camouflage. To destroy

can be beautiful.
I remember Mussolini's
bombed statues by the dopo lavoro pavilion,

thick monsters transformed to elegance
by their broken heads and cut-off
arms. Let the city be transformed.

A man with a submachine gun is
invulnerable, the sniper's
sharp little steel or the fist

of a grenade always
finds him surprised. Hey,
look out, man! What you

trying to do, get yourself
killed? They're everywhere, everywhere,
hear? -- the night's

full of them and they're looking
for a dead nigger -- so watch it,
go on fox feet and listen like a bat:

remember everything I told you.
You got to be smart enough
for both of us now.

But are you there? Are you
really there?

Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA
98368-0271, www.cc.press.org

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