John William Kulm



(Written for an appearance at The Peopleís Poetry Gathering

in Lower Manhattan, New York, March, 2001.)

I was thinking about New York on the way over here,

I was thinking, "You are the center of the art world,

and Iím from a town with a population of two hundred . . . people."

Youíre a city we can see from a satellite.

Your light is so bright . . . You are the light of the world.

A city sitting on eight million people cannot be hid.


Iím the voice of one crying in the wilderness.

Iím the sound of a tree falling in the forest without a camera crew.

You are the gateway to freedom;

Lady Liberty lifting your lamp beside the golden door, shouting,

"Nobody gets into America unless they get past me first."


Iím the sound of field of corn growing on a ninety-eight degree day.

Iím the sound of a hay baler pounding out dairy feed

like an all-night bass drum rehearsal

in a second-story studio

at a busy intersection

of a city that never sleeps.

Youíre the city where somebodyís always awake,

and you could get by with half as many beds if you had toójust trade off.


When you go out to the country, what do you expect to see?

A reed shaking in the wind?

Looking for a guru on a mountaintop?

A shaman on a reservation?

A person of the land?

A man of the soil?

Silken sowís ear purse-like person,

Sub-suburban city slicker

metro-cultured crop cultivating

agricultural social climbing

concrete kicking tractor driving

hermit hick ascetic monk.

Iím the light of the world

and youíre the light of the world.

Let your light so shine to show your world to me

and Iíll show my world to you.

And Iím happy to be here in New York.

Copyright © 2002 John William Kulm.  All Rights Reserved.

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