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Bennelong's Blues, by Yusef Komunyakaa

June 07, 1998

You're here again, old friend.

You strut around like a ragtag redcoat

bellhop, glance up for a shooting star

& its woe, & wander & out the cove

you rendezvoused with Governor Phillip

after Wil-le-me-ring speared him beside a beached

whale. We've known each other for years.

You're unchanged. But me, old scapegoat,

I never knew I was so damned happy

when we first met. Each memory

returns like heartbreak's boomerang.

You didn't tell me you were a scout,

a bone painter, a spy,

someone to stand between new faces

& gods. I didn't know your other four

ceremonial names, hero in clownish clothes,

till another dead man whispered into my ear.

From "Thieves of Paradise" by Yusef Komunyakaa (Wesleyan University Press: 128 pp., $19.95)

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