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Sunday, February 12, 2017

AGAINST THE NEED TO WRITE POEMS IN THE AGE OF T***P

by Alan Walowitz


Photo Illustration by Jackie Friedman | Images courtesy iStock, Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images via The Week


In poems the facts don’t seem to matter much
but these alt-facts just rip the poems right out of me—
the thought of madmen milling unvetted at our ports
to eat the still-beating hearts of our young
keeps me up long into the night, and sometimes gets so bad
I have to head downstairs for a late-night snack myself;
aliens hover at the polls ready to disguise themselves as the dead—
how can I make even a gesture toward a poem,
under these intolerable conditions.
Wordsworth knew it’s best to conjure up a lake lapping steady
and not fire up the hookah his friend had left as a house-gift,
though God know Coleridge has convinced me once or twice to try
and it’s worked nicely some dark and stormy nights
while waiting for an imagined visitor on business from Porlock.

Me, I prefer to know some things might be true—
the time on the clock should be approximately right,
then I can look outside and tell day from night,
though wrong from right has always been a tougher sell
in someone like me who likes to make stuff up.
But here they are the alt-facts lined up right outside my home
in pretty paper, ready to prop up whatever I might prefer to think—
a tsunami’s due that will make my property waterfront,
or a torrent of water slushed down any unsuspecting throat
will wash the truth right out of even the most innocent.
Whatever I feel, what joy, what many-splendored
wonders of this brave new world we’ve stepped into
across the threshold of the T***p-house mirror—
hell, there’s no longer reason to write a poem.


Alan Walowitz has been published in various places on the web and off. He’s a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry, and teaches at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY and St. John’s University in his native borough of Queens, NY. Alan’s chapbook Exactly Like Love was published by Osedax Press in 2016 and is now in its second printing. He’ll be reading at the Cornelia Street CafĂ© on Tuesday, March 7th at 6 pm.