CJ Whitman

By Jack D. Harvey

(Killed twelve, wounded thirty-three,

University of Texas, Austin, Texas, 1966)


Blessed are those

who run amok

in our times

reason is not

the law of life,

never has been:

that’s why so many

ride the black horse

in Plato’s piece.

The tower is

lonely and high,

power comes easy

as we look down:

like boys playing

in a tree,

we throw apples

and exorcize hope

with bombs.

The phoenix

was a bird

that was idolatrous;

violence was no part

of its nature.

It lived alone

in the wastes;

but in its final flight

by desire

the finite became eternal;

in a bonfire of delight

the I murdered the me.

In the cities,

in the country,

there is no hermitage

and the madman

bolts the door

only in his dreams.

We are all plugged in;

wires stream around

us like Medusa’s

gang of hair.

You ask,

what does he do

in the tower?

This madman in sanctuary.

He sacrifices?

Or does he warn us

that the ark is ready,

and the iron-bound coast

even now hides its head,

as the flood creeps on.


Jack D. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in Scrivener, The Comstock Review, The Antioch Review, Bay Area Poets’ Coalition, The University of Texas Review, The Piedmont Poetry Journal and a number of other online and in print poetry magazines over the years.




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