Monday, July 15, 2013

Dear Shirley Jackson

Whenever America pisses me off, I think about one of my favorite writer's Shirley Jackson.  How spot on she was depicting the deep corruption of a society in her classic short story, "The Lottery" where even the children threw stones because they had been taught it was right.  Here is a draft of my poem.

Dear Shirley Jackson –
I must admit, whenever I enter
the swampland, smell the vernal unfolding
of skunk grass and feel the bite and the swell
from horse fly, I think I understand where
you are coming from.  Black box.  That  current  pulsing under us even under deep
crust of snow, that thrives, that rises muddy
and hungry with the swift waters
that scrape the creek banks clean of a past. 
And there is beauty in it:
this ritual of return and rebirth.

This stepping forward into the dappled light
of slim dark trees, leaves trembling, creek
carrying everything (stones, truth, fear) past
fast.  What is folded up inside our miles
of guts? When we are asked to throw the stones
what current will try and carry us
under that sweet mud.


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