Dispossessed

Nailing up forever
where I can see it
stark as a severed tongue
whose expectations are now
shared only with the blue-
bottle flies

mounting tensions
on attractive plaques
horns reaching
like sun-hungry tendrils
from the polished wood
so I can take them with me
even after my library
has been unwritten
my small encampment
sanitized out of existence

& I need an advocate
because the light I went toward
turned out to be an interrogation room
& I remember too late
that in Xerxes’ Persia
satan meant a member
of the secret police

*

“Perhaps most tragically, Occupy Wall Street’s roughly 5,000-volume library, compiled through myriad donations and painstakingly cataloged by volunteers, was reportedly thrown out.” —TIME

(The first line is a phrase from a poem by Dave Smith, “Tongue and Groove,” in today’s Poetry Daily.)

5 Comments


  1. I hadn’t read about the library. I’m outraged. Nice poem.

    Reply

  2. Thanks, Ann and Dana. Yes, the destruction of books is always hard to bear. We’re not quite into Fahrenheit 451 territory yet, but we seem to be inching ever closer…

    Reply

  3. Great poem, Dave.
    Shame shame shame on Mayor Bloomberg and on every single police officer who participated in this outrage. “Just doing my job” has ceased to be a valid excuse – if ever it was valid.

    Reply

    1. Thanks, Natalie. Yes, and last night I saw that they trashed the replacement library, too! Especially with the on-going assault on public library funding (here as in the U.K.), it’s telling that a small library has become such an important, symbolic pawn in this struggle.

      Reply

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