Daily Archives: January 11, 2023

Praise Poem Against The Grain

Revised from 2009.

There are people who think we should all write more,
one poem a day, one thousand poems a day,
five hundred fifty five thousand poems a day,
one for every thought that slips along our nerves — 

excepting only poems about poetry.
The belly full of meaning poetry offers should be emptied.
The places it lives should be cut out of us.
We should never write of it or speak of it.

What nonsense — to go into church
denying that church is worth discussing in church. 
To refuse to cry ecstasy when ecstasy is upon us,
to refuse to explain what it’s like to those all around.

I’m ill informed tonight, and half asleep.
I haven’t watched the news for a week.
I’m alone with no one but the cat
curled next to me on a fleece blanket. 

A documentary on Crohn’s Disease
plays unwatched in the next room. 
I could get up, or I could stay here
until spring.

All the poetry I have tonight is the poetry of poetry itself — 
a right whale inside me, dangerous, endangered,
rising island within my body reminding me of marvels
that could slip away and never return.

There may be something else to write about someday
and the poem I write then may be fibrous, luminous,
may hold together on its own
and pass from me without pain.

Tonight I write one poem about poetry,
write it over and over again, 
one poem for the blessing of knowing
that poetry still exists in me,

even if
it’s hanging
by a thread. Even if
it hurts.


Adjusting The Woke Curriculum

They live for 
their children
only through their
bullets.  

All they will grow to know is
how to love a bullet and 
how to scorn what a bullet
can cut.

They say we’re in a shorn world now,
skinned of warmth and softness.
No learning to be found in anything now
but tales of flame and steel.

So what’s with
that sobbing kid 
poking with a stick
at the just killed rabbit in the gutter 

in the front of the neighbor’s house?
Must be queer. Must be damaged.
Get him out of sight, root through
his books, then shoot or set fire

to what ails him.