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Jane Satterfield 
  Blighted Landscape 
  Other poems:

Anthem for Doomed Youth

In '79 in a slum Sid Vicious,
ex-star and addict, famous

for on-stage self-mutilation, having
mortally wounded his lover, whole

of the world to him, lived
and died knowing nothing

succeeds like excess. Should we, too,
disregard damage,

and for one moment aspire to that life,
that dream he lived all the way up

right there in the shadow of death's
getaway car? Or is it

better the other way--to be safe
and survive? The gaze is trained

to look away from danger
while another current dazzles the eyes,

a rush of water
moving past shape,

the way pattern turns indistinct, and a world
blurs beyond recognition.

Is it better to sidestep the edge,
the grief,

love, half-love, the "easeful death"?
But what's restraint compared to motion, the leap

taken because of, in spite of
where the gesture might lead?

Sometimes I'm sorry I stayed behind
on this bank, frozen in place

eyes closed not to see the hero scan
the blighted landscape for clues.

Stripped of illusion,
the last ribbon of light.
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