poem for June 19

Nathanael West

not these places, consumed by dryness
and it's like dust defied--or dust deified
truth in the screech of the brakes
handholding across empty rivers
any point where you focus is poverty:
noir gets into the shadow-tracing-paper

at this one scrapped place ya got words
even-handed, leaving caring behind
landscape non see; slip into the see

when shrieking it's a lucky count
even-handed, getting caring into stuttering--
sun kills shadow, shadow the sun: a
truth in the screech of the brakes

(on June 19, 1934, Nathanael West published A Cool Million)

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