"The Revolution"

"The Revolution"

"The Revolution"

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A weekly poem, read by the author.
Nov. 2 2004 3:55 PM

"The Revolution"

Listen to Lynn Emanuel reading this poem.               Remember it was early—we were still in the dark slots of the narrow beds, the room twitching and burning         from an all night tv—then voices—almost lively

for this place, I think, unsheathing myself from the damp
          bedding to the cool and cluttered eight-story commotion—a burn
of sound, those voices, a Braille of noise.

          I can't remember what broke the wash of listening,
what turned it (like a boat steered hard into its own wake) into sight:
          one or two floors below us, an answer to your question—

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you are up and beside me now—what is that? was dragged by—
          window, wall, window, wall—locked in the arms of two men
and trying to bite her way out of their official embrace.

          Did I mention—leaning out—now—to put themselves into the courtyard
where a spill of images lengthened the view, we stared
          into the hall of our hotel, along which a woman

in a nightgown was dragged screaming
          like something metal opening against its will,
and their voices trailed behind to scuff out the meanings

          her screaming broke open in the air.
We saw her, then she was disappeared by wall, we saw her
          naked feet skidding on the stone floor. Wind blew this way and that

in the immense eight-storied courtyard. And these two facts:
          her gown was almost torn from her and that we stood staring—
what could be done—there had been trouble, we knew, betrayals.

          Who was to say she was innocent.

A professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh and director of the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series, Lynn Emanuel is working on her fourth book of poems. She served as a judge for the 2004-2005 National Book Awards.