Friday, June 28, 2013

I Celebrate Trolls

I Celebrate Trolls

“they write as though the great public crises were over
and the most pressing business we had were self-cultivation
and the fending off of boredom.”
Mark Edmundson, Harper’s Magazine June, 2013

I want to thank you.
My muse had gotten flabby,
a bit too much like the heart after living
half a lifetime
addicted to television, take out,
and tranquilizers.

I readily admit
that my verse had become
too insular, too opaque,
mostly because it barely
touches the page anymore.

Perhaps this is due to
the MFA program I attended,
or all those wicked teachers ,
some of whom still,
over a decade later,
follow whatever words I am able
to place,
gently or by force,
onto the page.

No, it was not their foreign policy
that did my muse in,
It was not their water cannons
of consideration and critique
that snuffed out my voice of protest.
No, I’d gladly drink
from that lake again
Because at least I can,
drink from it,
eat of its bounty
its flora and fishes,
without fear of being poisoned.

that’s what happened to me.
That’s what’s happened to
so many of us
You don’t know what it’s like
(I’m guessing – oh, the horrors of that self questioning voice, I know)
But you don’t know what it’s like
to be swallowed whole
by poverty,
teaching when it means mandatory
classes to the indifferent,
or by some other
40 hour a week job that isn’t
40 hours,
not by a long shot.

You don’t know, or you have forgotten
what it’s like
to be paralyzed
by the need
to have present in your life
anything that resembles
that which no one
who is poor
surviving under capitalism
can have – really -
without a struggle.

I understand your concern,
But I struggle to see
How America’s poets – as a whole – are to blame.
I am a poet.
I, too, long for more
direct grappling with this world
we’ve created that so benefits the few
at the expense of the many.
And I know I’m not alone in this.

I long for a society that reclaims
the true meaning of wasteful:
that of the rose, the crabapple, dogwood, magnolia, cherry
tomato blossoms the soil covered over
as if being
tucked in by its mother at bedtime,
a protection which lives on
long after the lights go out.

I long for world where we,
to stick a sword
straight through the heart
of colonial darkness,
and then do it.
Like Nike said,
Just fucking do it!
Take down this bloody patriarchal porn site
of white supremacist
military industrial
fossil fuel
driven global
for good.

Perhaps you are offended by my words.
If so, perhaps you might be
more careful
next time
in what you ask for.
You see, my longings are as vast as the Mississippi;
what I see as “pressing business” could fill every river that runs
across the entire earth.

I get it, what you’re aiming at.
We have gotten inferior
You’ve got that right buddy
Our collective angles obtuse to the very soil we’re made of
but I’m not speaking of poets here, Mark,
mark my words,
You’ve got that part wrong.

I celebrate you,
not because you have got it all right,
or all wrong

No, I celebrate trolls
for their ability to hang
on the oblique of society’s leaves,
to find the appropriate vein
and stick a needle in-
(anything sharp enough will do really),
to disturb the blood just enough
so that it might
right it’s course, reanimate
the four chambers
of our heart,
so weary from missteps,
so tender from
all these acts
of unwarranted aggression
we have committed.

Nathan Greenwood Thompson
June 27-28, 2013

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