George Wallace


a sacred river once
it ran through the
heart of Pankrates,
before they took it
underneath these
whitwashed streets,
all strength, the kind
of strength Theseus
displayed when he
defeated the Minotaur
athletic as a goddam
demi-god — and a river
is just a river, in Attica
or in Thrace, until the
people worship beside
it; until Maneads rip
the head off Orpheus
and cast it into the
sweet and undulating
waves; until Socrates
lies on its banks and
debates the nature of
love between a man
and a man with his
friend Phaedrus.
And love is mad
and philosophy
is sweet and
and words
are vapor
falling from
the clouds —
clouds talking
back to the sea
through the semiotic
texts of branches body
river and root — and i was
a golden apple once, i blossomed
from a white flower, but now
i am an apple tree with gnarly
old roots, my head is in the
clouds and migrating birds make
nests out of my hair

i make no bones about love —
no excuses!

i do a lone syrtaki in a whitewashed crowd

i make no payback except to the wind

Poet George Wallace is NY-based author of 34 chapbooks of poetry, editor of Poetrybay and co-editor of Great Weather for Media, and writer in residence at the Walt Whitman Birthplace. Winner of the Greece-based Alexander The Great Gold Medal for contributions to culture in his field, he tours internationally to perform his work.