Weekly poem on Trump Presidency


Negative Definition


imagine my philosophy prof from 1990,
sophomore year, his crescent-haired lagoon
of scalp, his monotone Eeyore voice

saying don’t think about the President.
you can’t NOT. when you consciously attempt
to conjure a negative, you summon its opposite.

“don’t think about the head of state,”
I tell myself. I try, but there he comes
strutting dumbly across my screen

as though I’ve pulled him from a hat &
now must listen to him jabber
about what a wonderful hat it was &

how he built the best burrow
in a secret pocket in the brim.
“don’t think about him,” I plead, but

bedazzled brain invites his image on the news
where other loud men draft the chronicle
of lies, arguing over their meanings

as if a crucial line of verse from Frost.
a voice from memory, droning & deliberate,
advises me, just don’t think….

I cut it off there & put in an effort
as though studying for the blank page
of an exam, but not-thinking doesn’t work &

too many others have beaten me to it, &
isn’t that the trouble? isn’t it? anyway,
didn’t my old professor really say,

don’t think about polar bears? now
I’m doing that. I’m not thinking about them.
I’m not thinking about them as hard as I can.


Ace Boggess is a freelance writer and editor living in Charleston, West Virginia. He spent five years in a West Virginia penitentiary, during which he wrote the poems that became his previous poetry collection, THE PRISONERS (Brick Road, 2014).  ULTRA DEEP FIELD is his third book of poetry. His other books include THE BEAUTIFUL GIRL WHOSE WISH WAS NOT FULFILLED (Highwire Press, 2003) and the novel A SONG WITHOUT A MELODY (Hyperborea, 2016). He has worked as a reporter, a customer-service rep for a phone bank, a sales clerk in record store with accompanying head shop and adult room, and security guard. His writing has appeared in HARVARD REVIEW, NOTRE DAME REVIEW, LUMINA, MID-AMERICAN REVIEW, RIVER STYX, RATTLE, NORTH DAKOTA QUARTERLY, and hundreds of other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

illustration:  anna_croc01

illustration: anna_croc01