Number 1 Patchin Place

No sign hangs by the door
of this Greenwich Village house,
unlike the plaque at Number 4,
where e.e. cummings lived.

In this house, John Reed wrote
about a world without chains
and those who shook the world
to overthrow the tyranny of capital.
He wrote of revolution in Russia,
and of the revolutions he hoped
would rise around the world,
even in America.

Across the street at Number 4,
years after Reed was dead
and buried in the Kremlin Wall,
cummings wrote of his time in Russia,
ideals lost to squalor and despair,
all that Reed had hoped for,
starved, executed, purged,
swept into the dustbin of history.

We remember cummings,
the anarchy of his words and lines
overthrowing the tyranny of form,
offending only grammarians
who would keep the language in chains.
But at Number 1 Patchin Place,
no words to remember Reed.

1 patchin place
Number 1 Patchin Place
4 patchin place
Number 4 Patchin Place
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