I’ve had a hard time concentrating on poetry lately and have written almost nothing in six months. This year’s presidential campaign has been a major distraction, ranging from athlete’s foot level irritation to full-on ice pick to the head migraine. I can’t seem to settle down with a book or an idea without some new item popping up on Twitter that wants to make me swallow broken glass. Friend and fellow MCPL Autum Konopka wanted to find a way to use poetry as a salve for the season’s diaper rash, and started a Facebook group called Verse for Votes. There other MCPLs, and anyone else interested, can submit their poems, or recommend someone else’s that inspire them to vote.
I’m not much of a politics writer myself–but this year’s flaming clown car parade eventually got me to write something. You can read my contribution here, and on the site linked above. Also go to the site to see wonderful poems by Kristina Moriconi, J.C. Todd, Amy Small-McKinney, Ryan J. Torres, and others.
Watching the candidates debate,
I thought, I too have a question
and it keeps me up at night.
Outside, deer pass through the orchard.
They pause long enough to taste
the air, look for dangers they
know are there, but not there now.
I have a question, and I keep it to myself.
We go through this again. Fight
the urge to fight, fight the yard signs,
the radio barkers, the fact checkers,
the friends we stop talking to.
I can’t tell the deer to trust me,
though I try to show it, leave
apples on the ground for them.
Tell them everything they fear
about us is true, but not now, or not
today. I do have a question.
I tell it to the deer. Why
do we do this to ourselves? No.
Why do we do it to each other?
In the orchard there’s a man
in camouflage sitting in a tree.
He’s pretending to be something
he’s not. He’s been watching
all night, waiting for the deer
to eat the apples like a trick
in a fairy tale, and every
child reading the story
knows what’s coming.
And now clowns haunt
the woods, and that’s
not funny anymore,
so we keep our children
home, no more stories.
I have a question,
and it keeps me up
at night, keeps rising
like an old injury
You see, we planted
We let the hunter in.
We know what’s coming too
but pretend we don’t.
Follow on Twitter @uniambic