Judith Malina



                         For Georges Lapassade
                                  With affection

Lapassade said: "It is an evil thing
To write a person's name
And then draw a line through it."
It was his Macumba period.
Possessed, he rolled on the floor,
All the while making notes
On his reactions in
Unperturbed calligraphy.
He had had some dealings-
Some macunha dealings, with the devil.
"He will come at midnight!" he cried,
Like Kinsky on his mark, and at twelve
On the hour, a madman leaped
From the window. "Don't," he said,
"Draw a line through a written name."

I think of it now between Lyon and Paris,
On a train called très grande vitesse,
As I edit for publication, the diaries
Of my youth. The passing fields
Under winter flooding, catch my eye
And pull me, now and again, out of the past.
There's the Cathedral of Sens crowned
By its square Gothic tower. . .

I avoid going back to my work. Avoid
Drawing lines through the words.
The publisher said, "Cut half the words!"
It was a condition I couldn't oppose.
Don't draw a line through the names
Of the friends of my childhood,
They are old now and many are dead.
Lapassade said, "You are trying to kill me!"
Don't draw a line through the dead.


Seafood with Poets

                     For Rothenberg and Baraka
                                     Who partook, and for
                     Michael McClure who abstained

Poets, didn't you think,
As I sat there at the table
Watching you fork the oyster
Out of its shell, and lift its jellied body
To your mouth, that she realizes
That you feel the pain of its death
In your throat, or even worse, that you don't
Feel the pain of its death in your throat?


"I am a Prisoner Dreaming of Escape. . ."
                            --Julian Beck

He never completed the sentence.
He was a prisoner dreaming of escape.

He never completed the sentence.
His lost clause thrashes among the universes.

He never completed the sentence.
A great ellipsis opened up and swallowed him.

He never completed the sentence.
The freedom-door swung open and he had to
  go through.