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Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis on Jim Carroll's Shoulder

Look at it
It's all blank
The face in the photograph
Too dark for features
But the praying mantis
Just so clear
Its forelegs fingering my hair
And it's there in focus on my shoulder
It teaches me my true name
It gives me this message:

Do not strike the low chord,
Lest its vibration awaken the halls of Maya.

It instructs me on the ways when need be to hide
It awakens the serpent inside to throb, to burn
It pulls the arrow from my ear
And it whispers, whispers, whispers a last word
What seems the last vapors of a long dream
Like Baraka wrote, like James Brown sings
Whispers, "please, please, please."


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