from Kenneth Koch’s Wishes, Lies, and Dreams: Teaching Children to Write Poetry
2. In Case You’re Ugly
It may turn out that you are burdened, like your mother, with a long equine face and an abundance of body hair. You may require corrective lenses that over time will leave a salmon-colored dent on each side of your nose. You may smile too widely and in general be a person whose facial expressions betray a certain emotional lability.
If so, buck up. People—especially boys if they have a sense of humor and are at least partially inclined toward girls, sexually speaking—won’t mind as much as you think. With your looks, you likely won’t disappoint in bed or worry about losing them (your looks, I mean) or, worse, implement desperate measures—heavy makeup comes to mind—to prevent same. Your “good features” will receive abundant praise and you’ll feel free to dress in an “interesting way.” Compared to beautiful girls, you’ll get less shit, I should imagine, and more personal space.
But what if you find, some distance into the project of growing up, that you are spiritually unattractive? That you have in yourself a surplus of bitterness and envy? Lack of understanding, lack of generosity, lack of hope for change? A heart that’s dense and inward, small and tight, wedged inside your ribcage the way a blackhead packs a pore?
I don’t know. Here’s what they told me:
Love is never having to say you’re sorry.
Love is letting go.
Love is a verb, not a noun.
Love is a verb? Fine. Try what I tried, then. Conjugate."
The Wesleyan College Slam Team
Awarded Best Writing by a Team CUPSI 2012
“Twenty Something” is one of those rare pieces that makes you laugh and really think. As a result, it is an absolute pleasure to watch. The Wesleyan program has really set it’s sights on producing work that is a step above and the result is clear.
(via nps2013)Source: buttonpoetry
Watching the news about Diallo, my eight year-old cousin, Jake,
asks why don’t they build black people
with bulletproof skin? I tell Jake there’s another planet, where
humans change colors like mood rings.
You wake up Scottish, and fall asleep Chinese; enter a theatre
Persian, and exit Puerto Rican. And Earth
is a junkyard planet, where they send all the broken humans
who are stuck in one color. That pseudo-
angels in the world before this offer deals to black fetuses, to give up
their seats on the shuttle to earth, say: wait
for the next one, conditions will improve. Then Jake asks do they
have ghettos in the afterlife? Seven years ago
I sat in a car, an antenna filled with crack cocaine smoldering
between my lips, the smoke spreading
in my lungs, like the legs of Joseph Stalin’s mom in the delivery
room. An undercover piglet hoofed up
to the window. My buddy busted an illegal u-turn, screeched
the wrong way down a one-way street.
I chucked the antenna, shoved the crack rock up my asshole.
The cops swooped in from all sides,
yanked me out. I clutched my ass cheeks like a third fist gripping
a winning lotto ticket. The cop yelled,
White boys only come in this neighborhood for two reasons: to steal
cars and buy drugs. You already got wheels.
I ran into the burning building of my mind. I couldn’t see shit.
It was filled with crack smoke. I dug
through the ashes of my conscience, till I found my educated, white
male dialect, which I stuck in my voice box
and pushed play. Officer, I’m going to be honest with you: Blah,
blah, blah. See, the sad truth is my skin
said everything he needed to know. My skin whispered into his pink
ear, I’m white. You can’t pin shit on this
pale fabric. This pasty cloth is pin resistant. Now slap my wrist,
so I can go home, take this rock out
of my ass, and smoke it. If Diallo was white, the bullets would’ve
bounced off his chest like spitballs. But
his execution does prove that a black man with a wallet is as dangerous
to the cops as a black man with an Uzi.
Maybe he whipped that wallet out like a grenade, hollered, I buy,
therefore I am an American. Or maybe
he just said, hey man, my tax money paid for two of the bullets
in that gun. Last year on vacation in DC,
little Jake wondered how come there’s a Vietnam wall, Abe Lincoln’s
house, a Holocaust building, but nothing
about slavery? No thousand-foot sculpture of a whip. No
giant dollar bill dipped in blood.
Is it ‘cause there’s no Hitler to blame it on, no donkey to stick it on?
Are they afraid the blacks will want a settlement?
I mean, if Japanese-Americans locked up in internment camps
for five years cashed out at thirty g’s, what’s
the price tag on a three-hundred-year session with a dominatrix
who’s not pretending? And the white people
say we gave ‘em February. Black History Month. But it’s so much
easier to have a month than an actual
conversation. Jake, life is one big song, and we are the chorus.
Riding the subway is a chorus. Driving
the freeway is a chorus. But you gotta stay ready, ‘cause you never
know when the other instruments will
drop out, and ta-dah—it’s your moment in the lit spot, the barometer
of your humanity, and you’ll hear the footsteps
of a hush, rushing through the theater, as you aim for the high notes
with the bow and arrow in your throat.
(via nps2013)Source: carrierudzinski