Tectonic Shift(s)

I've always written poetry. Most of it has been bad, some of it might have been good. Most of it I've had no idea if it was 'bad' or 'good'.

I've never published any poetry. This might have something to do with that I've no idea if my poetry is 'bad' or 'good'. Despite an undergraduate degree in English literature, in which I took a number of classes specifically about poetry, I'm not really sure I can tell good poetry or bad poetry.

So, this might be bad.

But this last year has seen a reinvigoration of poetry writing in my life. I'm not sure what sparked it, if it's a continuation of past poetry writing practices, or if it is the result of some 'spark' at all. But, I have decided to share some of it.

This is not the best poem I've written. Mostly I know that because I have no idea how to evaluate what my best poem would look like. But, it is a poem. It is the first poem I wrote in this period of 'reinvigoration', and sometimes what is first is the truest expression of what you want to accomplish, of what you hope to do. Sometimes it is only a first draft of what only long hours and long discarded drafts can accomplish. Either way, this is my poem.


Tectonic Shift(s)

A shift in landscape reposes questions of relations:

How do you hang on when the world is leaning?

It is an imperative, for times that have long passed into the future,

For working new plots of land.

Local movements in cities, apartment blocks,

Moving mountains, train tracks glacially tenured.

What is the appropriate action,

When you know that there are two sides to every coin?


Is this a deviation from the generalized state of security, or

Standard Operating Procedure?


Can we formulate practical proposals that are not

Stillborn from the mouths,

Absent of the necessary blood and sweat and tears and rebel yells?

Why do things get worse with each revelation,

Each roiling rotation,

Each revolution?


They prowl, they categorize, they build where we burn

And all the while we dream nascent dreams of the past.

Some claim immunity while others claim impunity.


Can you count the pain? Can you balance the white sheets

Draped over prone bodies and heads?

Spectacle of the splinter, driving it in - oh so - deep.

Transformation of naïve innocence

In order to bear witness,

To say their names, ages, sisters, and their sins.


It all seems so insane yet so calculated, so fluid yet so proper.

What do you hang on to when the world is leaning

In sanctimonious excess

And you don’t know your own hands, your own head

And compromise is the only position your body knows?


The impunity of the inarticulable violence that stalks our dreams,

That lifts each foot each step, away, yet still touching, holding on

Movement without a hope, spinning tops waiting to fall.

Ignoring the face of this place,

Which smells oily and law-like in its shame,

We dream gaps into being so that we,

Never filling but always falling,

Might run into them.

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