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Saturday, September 07, 2019


by Scott Bade

via Good

          Well, I won't back down
          No, I won't back down
          You can stand me up at the gates of hell
          But I won't back down
                 —Tom Petty

I’m dead because I’m not giving in
not backing down like the song says
so plainly we almost wonder if he’s
being ironic behind his laid-back
persona which hides a driven artist
whose Americanism hangs directly
upon the red white, blue and green
ethics of a capitalist republic blown
up beyond anything a dream could
dream up if it had the time to wonder
what might happen if we let wealth
unbuckle its belt and hang loose
on humanity’s sofa, a phone in
hand to scan the endlessness
of desire: video after video after
video of nubile young bodies
performing their roles for those
who have put them there and who
hope to keep them there, tied
inside a loop of patriarchy and
testosterone, a world man made
for man to man world to hold
himself above everyone even
himself, who knows his past,
knows the wrongs he’s lived
and knows the wrongs he covered
          and so I’m hanging here above
all of us, even me, so that no
one can touch me, except
myself, which is, after all
really all I’ve ever needed.

Scott Bade earned his Ph.D. in creative writing at Western Michigan University (WMU). In addition to teaching at Kalamazoo College and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Scott is also the coordinator of the WMU Center for the Humanities. He is a former poetry editor for Third Coast Magazine and editorial assistant at New Issues Press. His chapbook My Favorite Thing About Desire was a co-winner of the 2018 Celery City Chapboook contest. His poems have appeared in Fugue, Shadowgraph, H_NGM_N, Foothill and elsewhere.