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Tuesday, November 10, 2020


by Jeremy Nathan Marks

“Truth/Poetry,” a painting by Cameron Holmes.

There is nothing quite like knowing 
that poetry is your calling  
when you’re growing up in a Washington 
D.C. suburb where the word is power 

for in the nation’s capital no poem passes 
laws no verse crafts policy no poem ever 
delivered a constituency 

Poetry is a gesture so vital 
as to be without use 
it’s like telling the truth
about the deficit 
how we should curb our penchant 

for violence Poetry is a useless means 
of pulling bounties off wolf heads it is hardly
a writer’s rubber to hatred’s glue 
for nothing bounces off of me 
and sticks to you 

why write a poem to change the world 
when you could become a lawyer 
or banker 
a dynamite maker 
whose lucrative investments 
bear witness to capital’s power 

why write a poem when you could 
become a shield to the truncheon’s 
bludgeon hear 

a bomb’s whistle bullets over Baghdad 

or the silence that comes when there’s no one 
to listen to the words you’ve just written.

Jeremy Nathan Marks lives in London, Ontario. New work appears this fall in Anti-Heroin Chic, Dissident Voice, So It Goes, Chiron Review, Bewildering Stories, The Last Leaves, Unlikely Stories, The Journal of Expressive Writing, Boog City, and Ginosko Review.