Chant for a New Poet Generation

By Allison Joseph

                                  for Prince Rogers Nelson


What's this strange relationship
between your sugar walls and mine,
glam slam of your legs, cream
of these holy hips?  We gather here

dearly beloved, in purple, in heat,
around the block and around
the world, in a day, in seven
days--musicology of it all

turning us lovesexy, delirious
to the max. We are stardust,
we are golden--thieves in temples
we build from alphabet streets,

pearls beneath our tongues,
words diamond-hard.
The morning papers assault us
with far too many signs,

but we still rise though all
the critics don't love us,
never have. We keep moving,
one kiss at a time, our groove

under this nation, dance
music sex romance urging us
forward, profound as time,
as the jam of this

and every year.
Brothers and sisters,
friends and lovers,
each of us is symbol,
is slave, and we

are all funky,
our names a parade,
a housequake,
under the ripest moon,

Allison Joseph lives, writes and teaches in Carbondale, Illinois, where she's on the faculty at Southern Illinois University.