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Cell Sense

06.09.10 Posted in today's words by

Dr Stan Galloway, professor at Bridgewater College in Virginia and Tarzan expert, had some amazing things to say on 15 Minutes of Poetry, didn’t he? He read this poem, and now you can read it for yourselves. His poem Failed Romance appeared as part of Contributor Series 4: Aspects of the Elephant and you might also remember African Crow (also read on the radio show). His book The Teenage Tarzan: A Literary Analysis of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Jungle Tales of Tarzan will make you want to reread Burroughs again. 

Cell Sense
for Chinsinsi Phiri
By Stan Galloway

Soberness dawns with the sun
to reveal what I could not comprehend
through the alcohol-eyes of evening.
The man sitting on the floor between my legs,
beer-fragrant, picked at lice, still semi-stupefied.
Hips left and right bench-glued prohibited
any shifting to restore or reroute circulation.
More men behind, someone reeking still of bhang, 
the others just of sweat. Around us all, an aura
of depression laps from man to man and back again.
What seemed a fit reward for work well done,
a celebration capped with cannabis,
has soured fast with fickle friends and beer
the night before, and then arrest.
I cannot call like Daniel for release
from this dank den of death. No righteousness in me
alone has earned God’s merit, his attention, to
even stop the lion’s breath beside me.
Desperation drives the words from me–“Oh God!
If you will pluck me from this place
my life is yours forever.”

Four days later
I start for home.

Three weeks after that,
       “forever” ends.

2 Responses to “Cell Sense”

  1. Chinsinsi says:

    I have fallen in love with this poem. I thank professor Galloway for writing it. 🙂

  2. Stan says:

    I am so glad my memory and my words have done justice to the event that you related so clearly to me in 2004. May your forevers begin as often as necessary to finish the race well.

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