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October 22, 1989|Peter Levitt | From "Bright Root, Dark Root" (Ambrosia Press, Box 7014, Tarzana, CA 91356; 64 pp). Levitt, who lives in Malibu, has published three previous books of poetry as well as various translations. He has just been named a Lannan Foundation literary fellow, one of two named in a program inaugurated just this year. 1989, Peter Levitt. Reprinted by permission of Ambrosia Press.

If the population decides to die it is their love

of blood unspilled which they carry as a sacrament

and the mountains they stand daily in the presence of

breathing an oxygen they know would make them crazy

to live without since they are sacred

to the mountains as well without this

there is no revolution, but if you want to live forever

nothing will change

even your idea of freedom must be given away

handed over

even your revolution must fail in the end

for there to be freedom. In the moments when you

plan the overthrow right there is the seed of your destruction--

welcome it-- live like you are already dead

breathe that easily without fear

teach your hands how to hold on and how to let go.

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