Tuesday, December 1, 2009
So You Think You Don't Like Poetry
This week's selection is by Peter Jay Shippy, an Emerson alum who now teaches writing at the college. Yay Emerson!
I unbelieve I was born and wore
A sailor's suit until I was seven.
There are no pictures of puppies licking
My face or albums of vacation snaps.
Yosemite? Niagara Falls? I unbelieve
There's someone somewhere who likes the same things
I do. Reading the dictionary?
The Buffalo Bills? See? I unbelieve a priest
Would fuck anyone, certainly not me.
The woman who pushes the baby carriage
Up and down the block all day all week
Screaming and singing lullabies is not
Doing so well, I unbelieve, no.
Someone should lift a finger and give her
A helping hand, because charity
I unbelieve, begins in the home.
Who said that? Who said that? I unbelieve if
I can't recall then it must have been me.
A stitch in time saves nine? I shall return?
That's all folks? I have wasted my life?
That was me--the man who is the measure
Of all things. My sister told me about
The birds and the bees and I unbelieved
Every word she said, because she was older
Wiser, stronger, meaner, an early bloomer--
A girl who the world would soon get to know.
I still can't unbelieve that she's dead. I do.
I unbelieve the earth is flat or that man
Walked on the moon or that I came down
From African apes or that Jesus
Walked on water that he turned into wine
Or that life begins when I imagine
Doing it with you. I unbelieve fairies
Live in the television set--really
Think about it? Isn't it just common sense?
The sun was warm? The cherry blossoms
Were in bloom? We paddled a wooden canoe
Down the canal? I thought the port was sweet?
I pretended not to see the worm
In the Cobb salad? The inn had a surprise
Vacancy? I felt dizzy? I awoke
With a sack over my head, tied to the bed
And I was bleeding and I unbelieve
I told the police I couldn't remember, yes
I couldn't be sure of a thing. Bambi?
Jules and Jim? The Sound of Music? Red Desert?
I unbelieve that was the first movie
I ever saw, although really, it was a film.
I unbelieve the President means
Exactly what he says--don't you? The night
My son was born I was driving my truck
Across the U.P. trying to finish
My deliveries and then make the delivery,
If you know what I mean and I was just
Twenty miles out of Sault Ste. Marie
When I saw the most beautiful shooting star
And it was awesome, too, like blue like
Propane gas and scary, too, I pulled
Over to the side of the road and I'm sure
My mouth was a black hole and I wish
I would have thought to take a picture
And I unbelieve that that was my son's soul
Soaring back to heaven, I do, because
That was the very moment he passed.
If you unbelieve me go and check
With the hospital. I want you to.
I unbelieve that sometimes life forces you
To grow up before your time. Who said that?
I unbelieve that Lois Lane didn't know
That Clark was Superman. Think about it?
She just didn't want to spoil the good times.
I unbelieve that most people are fine, yet
I wouldn't open my front door
For just anyone. I pretty much un-
Believe in the war and yet I absolutely
Unbelieve that I am un-American.
Didn't I serve my country? Didn't I die
For you and unbelieve that you'd die, too?
I unbelieve in reincarnation.
I unbelieve that everyone has a twin--
Someone somewhere who looks or acts just like
You and me I mean, we're unique, unless
We're clones. I unbelieve that on the day
That I was born my grandfather cried
And this was a man who never shed a tear.
Even when they took his voice, or so I hear.