Elaine Equi

A Laminated Lament

for Philip Lamantia

Good grief! Pet sorrow!
Choked up mountains. Hiccuppping hills.
Zoo of bygone instincts.
Lovers always leaping from the windows of their eyes.

Together the men, women, children —
all cry lustily, loudly,
their mouths full of candy
for they know somewhere,
some tragedy is greater than their own,
some suffering outshines them.

With kittenish nerves,
with flat-topped frowns,
with cylinders of gloom
well-oiled in the garden of olives.

Alas and rejoice, for it has happened.
I’ve lost my sense of loss —
and now must go naked
without even a shadow
down the ancient street.

"A Laminated Lament" first appeared in a broadside produced by Kenny "Angel" Davis.

Elaine Equi’s books include Ripple Effect: New & Selected Poems and Sentences and Rain from Coffee House Press. A new collection, The Intangibles, is forthcoming in 2019. She teaches at New York University and in the MFA Program at The New School.