Poems in October

The first of the poems in October

This end of the month’s collection of poems in October showcases new discoveries incredibly relevant to the moment we’re living in. Last month’s pieces I picked to share (read them here!) were mainly about love because I was re-watching Call Me By Your Name and needed to feel something again (laughing at the pain that movie constantly causes me). Those poems were tender and extremely intimate in a way I’ve always wanted to write. This month’s poems in October, however, are about survival and what it means to truly know what it is we fight against. I thought each piece was significantly important to study as we seemingly witness the collapse of the United States empire (which should happen!). The first piece in my poems in October is “In the Morning, Before Anything Bad Happens by Molly Brodak, which reads like a small gust of peace in the early daytime hours. Brodak passed away in March after a history of depression, and this piece feels hopeful despite all of the devastating news we consume every day, like her death. I love the lines “I know there is a river somewhere, / lit, fragrant, golden mist, all that, / whose irrepressible birds / can’t believe their luck this morning / and every morning” because they have a quietness to them as a type of pastoral elegy. I think it’s the perfect piece to recognize moments of goodness in between everything painful and honor Brodak’s memory. Christopher Logue’s “Know Thy Enemy” feels like it was written as a forever applicable piece, especially in regard to capitalism, imperialism, and American politics. We know that we can’t have a moral society that protects and cares for every person without abolishing racial capitalism and the institutions related, and Logue encapsulates the reasons why. The piece accurately describes American society and the godawful people who “lead” and my favorite lines are the two ending ones: “sooner than lose the things he owns / he will destroy the world.” I can think of dozens of rich capitalists and politicians who these lines mirror and we won’t be rid of them anytime soon without true revolution. The late Diane di Prima wrote “Revolutionary Letter #4” and I’m devastated that I just discovered her work as she passed away this week. The letter envisions a world where people are allowed to live and breathe easily, focusing only on family and creating and love. As we’re constantly in a rush to seek “success” and are often shamed about resting and non-work related activities, I find di Prima’s words inspiring. “We remember / the way, / our babes toddle barefoot thru the cities of the universe” is damn beautiful. The last of my poems in October is called “Violence” by Zaina Alsous and it’s an incredible sonnet we should be reading repeatedly. Alsous almost perfectly illustrates America and its inherent racism and brutality everywhere we look. I’m gutted by the last two lines: “I don’t know what they thought I was capable of; / I wish I was more capable of it.” I think the piece is also relevant for global struggles as American imperialism is directly related to that of Palestinian oppression, Nigerian uprisings in the EndSARS uprisings, and many more.

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