Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Poem of the Week: Alan King


after W.S Merwin

The president of pride's been overthrown

by a coup.

The president of humility shakes his head.

"If only he had listened," he says.

But it's too late. Pride's flag is burned

in front of government buildings.

The money marked with his face

has been tossed into a bonfire.

A pile of ashes collects

under Pride burned in effigy.

The president of sympathy

is nonexistent. It's a kingdom

in a mirage. Its citizens are dazed

by thirst. Hunger's as abundant

as air and trampled sand.

Hindsight's mistaken for the babbling

village idiot. He staggers through

the troubled kingdom and spots Pride

with its wrists and neck in the guillotine.

The wise man takes a swig from his flask,

shakes his skinny finger, and goes away

tsk tsking.

-Alan King

Used by permission.

Alan King is a poet and journalist, living in the DC metropolitan area. He's also the senior program director for DC Creative Writing Workshop, a Cave Canem fellow, VONA Alum, and MFA candidate at the University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast program. King's been nominated for both a Best of the Net selection and Pushcart Prize. His first collection of poems, Drift, will be published January 2012 by Willow Books.

King attended Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2008 and 2010.

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Joseph Ross said...

Here's a fine poem by a fine poet. Thanks for giving us Alan's work!

Anonymous said...

My debut collection of poems DRIFT is now available for pre-order at http://bit.ly/rs0aiK. You can also read advanced praise for my book at http://wp.me/pC3Xj-EB