For Joe

Locked in the beauty of the pearl, far from frail,
         these people who claim to love us still
they don’t give up much, do they, sealed? To eradicate class—
      the looking glass of it, the complex glare: “Let me introduce
xxx, impoverished poet.” Winter let up
     like a terrible religion. In its wake, a politics came,
      profane. You were on a train
from Philly to Mass. Winter let up like bands and globes
      and globules and I could feel the trade ships
in my bloodstream, the blood that made me,
        and I wanted to kill it
       really bad like a war path. They said my poems
         were a mess. Well, if that’s the case, then, go ahead.
Strike one match and the mansion will go up in its own ash,
in its obsession with accumulation against the glint of trees.


Copyright © 2016 by Sandra Simonds. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 3, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“I was talking to my friend Joe on the phone one night (also a poet) and he told me that he was invited to give a poetry reading at a university by another poet and that poet introduced Joe to the audience as an ‘impoverished poet.’ It got me thinking about class consciousness/unconsciousness in poetry and about the class position of the poet who introduced Joe. How does hegemony assert itself both within the complex social relations of the poetry world and beyond, and how do we begin to call out and change these power structures?”
—Sandra Simonds