When I was in New York this past week I was lucky enough to attend a poetry reading where the poet Rick Barot read. He went out on a limb and read some very new poems. They were excellent, and I'm sure will only get better as he edits. After the reading I told him that I particularly enjoyed one, which was about John McCain. I told him that it did something that I felt I would currently be too angry to do in any form, namely humanize John McCain in a way that none of the "war hero" propaganda has done over these last few months. Rick was nice enough to give me that poem, which inspired a poem of my own, and Rick's reading of it--so soon after writing it--has inspired me to share my poem (something that, if you know me, you know I don't do easily). It is about as new as a poem can be, and may, in the end, look very different from this, but I am going to share it here, now.
Election Day, 2008
for Rick Barot
You fell down before I did, but while I was listening
to gospel music this morning I cried in the shower.
You fell, but I keep breaking down.
They’re telling us a new day is rising, and I’m too nervous
to believe them. There’s a landing strip on the other side,
they say, but I don’t even recognize what we’re flying.
Much less how to touch down softly.
We are all jungle cats skinned and placed on display
in markets we didn’t even know existed.
Our meat isn’t sold, but left where we were shot down
And these days I have learned to hate the flies
for being flies,
their lack of compassion for me.
I am angry. Other poets can still humanize
those in whom I can’t see the humanity anymore.
They sign their poems and hand them to me.
This is the closest I will get to understanding.
But maybe tomorrow I will break down for other reasons.
When You Get Bored Here, Go Here:
- David Luke Doody
- David Luke Doody is a freelance writer and editor. He is a founding editor of InDigest Magazine (www.indigestmag.com), an online literary magazine and the blog editor for Guernica Magazine (www.guernicamag.com). His writing and interviews have appeared in those magazines as well as in The Huffington Post, mnartists.org, The Minnesota Twins Yearbook, and Intentionally Urban Magazine, among others.
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