Election Poems is a listening project. The poems you will read in this series document and respond to the politicized non-dialogue that seems to have invaded all forms of conversation these days, and the gas balloon of portent that’s escaping the seams. This is also a personal project. The content comes exclusively from my own listening experience, meaning conversations that people have had with me or things they have said in my presence, for better or worse, from the 2008 election cycle to the present. The results are not always easy to digest, and many of the poems deal with painful, disturbing, or incendiary ideas that have not gone away, as our current election season so aptly reminds us. But to be clear, the project is not about politicians, pundits, or campaigns, or the rhetorical moves they make in order to earn a vote, or tell the story of a given election. It is about everyone who is not running for office, and who/how we are to each other in an era where politics infuses everything.
For more information about this series and its concept, check out the introductory post. Previous poems can also be found on the series page. A new installment and image will appear every Tuesday from now through November 2016 (one week post-election), featuring poems from throughout the project, as well as a new one written specifically for the current week. The poems are titled by number, but will not appear in order.
It’s so nice to sleep sound, knowing
certain folks won’t take over in the night
or have a float in our Fourth of July parade,
or ruin the middle school graduation, or my toilet paper
or end up where I do when I die
bless their hearts
You are here to listen, not to talk. You are here to kill me. You are an agent of the devil. You are about to be slapped down by someone less powerful in public. You are not allowed to move the furniture, or sit on it. You are not allowed to change my thoughts or my diaper or my dead bulbs or my soft openings or my sports package. You and your America cannot be understood. You listen to people who don’t listen to the people. You pray with people who don’t qualify as praying. You look more threatening to me in person. You walked in here like you just had sex. You are what is wrong with me. You want me to stay poor till I die. You want me to get old till I die. You have awakened a tired mountain. You don’t know who I am and what I can do. You forgot who didn’t want you. You forget who is not you. You will go sit on the naughty chair. You will think about what you did. You are not focused on the family, I am. You are not star spangled and battle scarred inside, I am. You are not an expert on anything, I am. You are not a student of the constitution, I am. You are not an authority on medical malpractice, I am. You are not the exonerating evidence, I am. You are not the holiest kombucha, I am. You are not the face in the cloud, I am. You are not the forgotten future, I am. You are not opening the pod bay doors, I am. You are not talking to me, I am.
No concessions or apologies needed
our certainty is your guarantee