the time for nuance is over
i argue over breakfast
explaining how it’s oft used
to confuse dissent—knife
through my poached egg.
politicized work made all yolky,
easy to consume & forget.
i dab with the toasted bread
agitation & propaganda i rant
is the only just path for artists
gesturing with my utensils
heavenward. i’ve said a lot
of things which in retrospect
would’ve been better
had i kept my mouth shut.
i once said something to a friend
i won’t repeat here
& now she’s no longer my friend.
i'll never forget what her eyes did
as i finished speaking
stones in a bucket.
words have consequences
they’re both material & reveal
the spirit that speaks them.
what i meant over breakfast
is the time’s too urgent for work
that doesn’t have blood in it.
what i meant is insurgency
is our birthright, that nuance
comes from the french meaning
to shade—why another painting
of a lake when there’s so much
rage boiling outside the canvas?
what does it mean i don’t mean
what i say when i say it? i don’t know
what i mean. silence is golden
& gold’s the standard measurement
for capital. the golden rule is do
unto others as you would have them
do unto you. but what when they do
you ugly first as they always
seem to? i finish my coffee &
it’s political whether i want it
to be or not.
Copyright © 2017 by sam sax. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 22, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.
I have a few which is news to me
Tom drops by in the mornings with his travel
mug my mother would call it a coffee klatch
we review our terrible histories with fathers
and talk about the father he’s become and how much
it will cost to replace gutters the ice brought down
and then there’s soft-spoken Harvey
with whom I enjoy long pauses in conversation about how
they raised the Nelson town hall and put a foundation
during which we both look at Mt. Monadnock and then down
at the ground and then back at each other silence precipitating
the pretty weather we share before he goes inside for lunch
when I had to pack up my office Tom boxed
and loaded books into my car I didn’t think he’d want
to but his idea of friendship includes carrying heavy things
at the dog park the retired Marine with the schnauzer
asked do you have a husband I replied I don’t care for men
in that way as a Marine James mostly played cards
on a supply ship now he mostly hunts and fishes
climbs his orchard ladder for my Cortlands
and in trout season leaves, in my fridge, two rainbows
Copyright © 2015 by Robin Becker. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 1, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.