I Have Known You All Before

David Spicer has had poems in The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Gargoyle, Mad Swirl, Reed Magazine, Slim Volume, The New Verse News, The Laughing Dog, Chiron Review, Easy Street, Bad Acid Laboratories, Inc., Dead Snakes, among others, and in the anthologies Silent Voices: Recent American Poems on Nature (Ally Press, 1978), Perfect in Their Art: Poems on Boxing From Homer to Ali (Southern Illinois University Press, 2003), and A Galaxy of Starfish: An Anthology of Modern Surrealism (Salo Press, 2016). He has been nominated for a Best of the Net twice and a Pushcart, and is the author of one full-length collection of poems, Everybody Has a Story (St. Luke’s Press, 1987), and four chapbooks. He is also the former editor of Raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books.


I Have Known You All Before

Farewell, friends and enemies,
comrades and lovers: though I have
known you all before, the parade is over,
and you’ll scatter in different directions
to find the esteem of a soul in your wake.
My time at the podium is past. I met
the guard at Leavenworth, the children
of plutonium, the villain who released
it to help you regress to savages.
I witnessed the dentist selling rare
watches at flea markets, the homeless
prophet wearing an orange blossom in his
lice-infested hair, the brute sporting
long knives. I related anecdotes
repeated in newspapers of the lunatic
spraying a crowd of dancing lambs
with bullets and gas in the dark,
skulked on a knoll when history shook,
twisted, and vandalized our hearts.
I taunted myself, pointed a banned
handgun’s barrel at my temple, and hid
from the truth—mortality—I cannot bear,
while you, whom I have known before,
roam the red cobblestones in search
of the place you all claim safe, the place
you seek the myth of love you crave.

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