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.

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