Monday, September 30, 2013

Among the Families of the Earth... and transitions

I wrote my first new poem in a long time last week. It was good. It was a sign that I am starting to settle into the new routine. I still struggle with feeling guilty every time I write creatively or read for fun, because I should be working. But that seems to be subsiding.

I have a new poem that has been accepted. And the outlet for my last poem has gone out of business.

Empirical Magazine seemed really cool and I was really excited that they printed my poem. But then they went more or less out of business, so the issue my poem appeared in was the last one. you can get the e-book version of the issue here and it has some cool stuff:

Here is the poem, as I wrote it. It's largely fictional, and I think the point is the biblical quote that is alluded to: "You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins." Amos 3:2. There are a bunch of ways of reading this and I am not sure the way the character reads it. I wonder if there are some down-sides to so-called righteousness, if it creates barriers. Certainly, it's easy for the devout to be judgmental and unforgiving, and everything I read in the new testament suggests that these are every bit as bad as what is judged or unforgiven. This old testament fire and brimstone prophet can be read that way as well.

Here it is.

among the families of the earth

your father wakes; it’s five and cold,
steam; his breath, his head as it
is shaved. his wife, your mother,
stirs. the door clicks closed. the snow;
the shoveling, the salt; the half
mile to the bus on the Express.
its empty seats, he reads from
Amos, prays. but not for you.
perhaps not for his wife. the
listener, himself alone
and drifting through the morning
shards, will never tell.

the work is dirty, rodent eyes
from cages gleam. their foreign
ordered thoughts. the sawdust
always stinking. they breed;
mechanical and hostile. he records

his duty done, the bus again
the lights flick on as night
descends, the drifted sidewalk
(shovel, salt); the silent dinner
prayer; and living with
the consequences; sleep.