Cold Building Seven


They’re telling me
all I need is a good handshake
and someone’s hand slipped through
and took ahold of the heart.
I’ve seen what happens to people
who put premium on friendship
their fingers crippled from shaking hands
arms twisted from the wrestling matches
pegs replacing parts given to each other.
I would rather have everyone for enemies.
I want to be high above the cries of the born
high above the moans of the dead
waving to everyone without them waving back
like a flag on a pirate ship.

John Stoss, Cold Building Poems, c. 1973, unpublished

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