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POETRY I BY CAROL COFFEE REPOSA PAUL ROBESON IN RUSSIA He looked down that lonesome road And stole away Left Jim Crow standing On the Mississippi banks To find another river Flowing in his veins Another trumpet sounding in his soul. He sang with the boatmen Pulled the rope with them Their anguish in his long embrace Songs throbbing in his linebacker’s chest Rolling from his throat In Volga blues Before the chariot swung low And carried him Above the steppes Birches in white litanies All the way to Moscow. Applause before, behind him He found melodies Above the wars That fumed in gated dachas Secret spaces in the Kremlin Hidden laboratories Even in the camps. Majestic in his slightly crinkled smile His broken nose He sang in the streets To one, to all Before he traveled on Searching out the ways To Jordan. HOMELESS IN WACO They gather Underneath the Interstate Circle paltry fires A ragged coda In the march of shrines and domes White spires Puncturing the January sky Mansions stating themes In brick and stone Fluted colonnades And Doric capitals Shutters closing off The scrawny descants Rising in the streets Beneath a heaven of cement Withered voices Underneath the bridge Drowned in the vamp Of wrought iron fences Intercoms and cell phones Guards who think they do not hear. CAROL COFFEE REPOSA’S poems have appeared or are forthcoming from Descant, The Formalist, The Valparaiso Review, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Borderlands, Concho River Review, Texas in Poetry 2, and other journals and anthologies. She has three collections of poetry: At the Border: Winter Lights, The Green Room, and Facts of Life. Her essay, “West Texas Journal” was accepted for inclusion in Enduring Landscapes, Painted Sky, a collection of writings by Texas women. She teaches at San Antonio College. Naomi Shihab Nye AUGUST 26, 2005 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21