Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
This poem originally appeared in Waxwing, Issue 10, in June 2016. Used with permission of the author.
I didn’t want to break my own heart
oh no you didn’t exist as a point on a plane
in a modern philosophy of time my new thing
nope not today in a world where transcendent
incompetence is easy to spot if that’s what you want to see
and efficiency is still the enemy of poetry and of love
oh no you didn’t write poems on forgetting fearsome leave-taking
or crypto-amnesia that act of forgetting to cite fierce attachment
nope today is a day to be free to transcend pedestrian realities
O ethical imperative dire as plagiarism nope
O emotional appropriation not today
one form of redress is if you write me a letter
I will write you back give and take means
no hearts broken if we concede to exist
as a sudden broken thing not fearful enemies of love
we grow fierce as yes transcendence yes
on a plane in the sky or in my mind
no you didn’t forget nor did I nope not today
Copyright © 2019 by Tina Cane. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 15, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.