Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Poem of the Week: Tim Seibles

Vendetta, May 2006

My thoughts are murder to the State and involuntarily go plotting against her.

--Henry David Thoreau

As if leaving

it behind would

have me lost

in this place, as if

keeping it

could somehow

save me from the

parade of knives,

I have held

my rage on a short

leash like a good,

mad dog whose bright

teeth could keep

the faces of our enemies

well lit. Is it

wrong to hate

the leaders? Am I wrong

to hate their silk

ties and their

secret economies?

Am I wrong? Am I?

Look how they

work the stage

like cool comedians,

ribbing the nations this

way, then that --

gaff after giggle

filling the auditoriums

with the empty

skulls. Maybe this

is the moment

to abandon

metaphor: shouldn't somebody

make them

suffer: now that

war is easy money,

won't the reasons

keep coming to see

how well

people die?

.....I guess this

is the world

I was born

into: moonlight,

sunshine--kind city

of my mother's lap, my

father....tossing me

up....and catching me --

I remember

the first time I saw


my window: the colors

came with the smell

of burning

leaves....and starving

in our basement,

the crickets

trying to stave off

the chill, still working

their little whistles

after dark.

....I think, even

then, I knew a season

would come

for us: the wind

tilting slowly, but

suddenly everyone

is under the cold

still holding on

to their wallets

as the government

quietly turns....and day

after day, the terrible stories

cover everything.

- Tim Seibles

Used by permission.

Tim Seibles was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1955. He is the author of several books of poems including Hurdy-Gurdy; Hammerlock; and, most recently, Buffalo Head Solos. He is a former National Endowment for the Arts fellow and has been a writing fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center in Massachusetts. Seibles also received an Open Voice Award from the 63rd Street Y in New York City. His work has been featured in anthologies such as Manthology; Black Nature; Seriously Funny; The Autumn House Anthology of American Poetry; So Much Things to Say; and Best American Poetry 2010. He has been a workshop leader for the Cave Canem Writers Retreat and for the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation. Seibles is visiting faculty for the University of Southern Maine's low-res Stonecoast MFA Program. His home is in Norfolk, VA where, as an associate professor of English, he teaches in Old Dominion University's English Department and MFA in writing program.

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