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Rescue the Word

Marilyn Buck

1998

sacred words are in danger
fugitives, they seek cover
bury themselves alive
shamed by the profane
purposes they are forced to serve
dressed in lily-white lies
words are in danger
english only vows
to tear out tongues
exiled witnesses
to collective memory and homeland ties
sacred words are in danger
trapped, they hang on billboards
judas-goats to conjure deception
sing them shout them
teach them
wear them
around your neck
amulets against amnesia


March 1998

This poem appeared in
Rescue the Word, 2001

Marilyn Buck photo 1971 Marilyn Buck in San Francisco, 1971 (photo: Jeff Blankfort)