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Liberty Walks Naked
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Richesses: Francophone Songwriter Poets
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GARY KEENAN

 

 

 

Gary Keenan lives and works in New York City. He has received poetry fellowships from the Massachusetts Artists Foundation and Brooklyn College. From 1992 to 2000 he directed creative writing programs at The Field, Inc. in New York City. His poems have appeared in literary journals and magazines since 1979 in the United States, England, Ireland, and Australia. He is also a composer and musician, working with his band American String Conspiracy (Avenue A Records), founded in 2003 with guitarist Shu Nakamura, as well as playing and recording with other artists in the New York area. He works for a major educational publisher in New York. His first book of poems, Rotary Devotion, will be published by Fordham University Press as the Poets Out Loud Award winning book in the Fall of 2017.

 

 

 

 

Improvisation in a New Year

 

 

I slept through the festivities and woke
Before sunrise had cleared the streets

 

Of wilting partiers talking loudly
So as to be heard above the booze

 

And in my dark room I was covered
By silent blue jaguars and white orchids

 

As I listened for my future still sleeping
Within memories so vivid they felt just outside

 

My door—I could rise from my bed and walk
The Pan-American Highway to mountain towns

 

Raucous with mopeds and horse-drawn carts,
Coffee beans spread on burlap to dry on sidewalks,

 

Fifes and drums playing hymns to the coming dawn;
That this could be mine, could be me already,

 

That the cold steaming avenues and rumbling subway
Were the dream I was waking from, not the grave

 

I’d been digging as if lucky to be dying anonymous—
Such a joy in what I have felt among friends

 

And strangers, playing our guitars, sharing songs
And dancing in front of the sign that reads No Dancing—

 

I can be still here and not afraid, my address
Immaterial, my bed the habitat of my cat curled

 

Atop his jungle cousin, both keeping me warm
As I invite January to begin its winter rumba

 

So the year may start in dance and stay there
As long as we are standing, and when we sleep

 

Our dreams glow in the sky where we live

 

 

©2017 Gary Keenan

 

 

Author Links

 

'The Rest Of The Days Of My First Life' in The Cortland Review

Poetry in In Posse Review

Poetry in Lynx: Poetry from Bath

 

 

 

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