Wherever in this city, screens flicker
with pornography, with science-fiction vampires,
victimized hirelings bending to the lash,
we also have to walk…if simply as we walk
through the rainsoaked garbage, the tabloid cruelties
of our own neighborhoods.
We need to grasp our lives inseparable
from those rancid dreams, that blurt of metal, those disgraces,
and the red begonia perilously flashing
from a tenement sill six stories high,
or the long-legged young girls playing ball
in the junior highschool playground.
No one has imagined us. We want to live like trees,
sycamores blazing through the sulfuric air,
dappled with scars, still exuberantly budding,
our animal passion rooted in the city.
I is the first poem from Adrienne Rich’s Twenty-One Love Poems collection, written between 1974-1976. These were originally published as a complete collection but were later re-published and included as part of another collection of works, written between 1974-1977, called The Dream Of A Common Language.
Twenty-One Love Poems and The Floating Poem, (un-numbered) can all be found here at oldpoetry.