08.09.2019
Weekly poem on Trump Presidency

 

MAGGIE RIGGS

Anthem

“Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter.”
Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford
September 27, 2018

I.

I am incandescent with rage, we said
We said it to one another, we said it
On the subways trains planes
On the smartphones the whatsapps the twitters the group chats
We said it at home we said it at work
We said it in our sport utility vehicles
We said it in the corners of our over-air conditioned boardrooms insufficiently mapped
Bathroom stalls shopping malls Starbucks
Boozy midday lunches maybe a little bit late for school pickup
We said it teeth chattering hair frizzed whisper-shaking with fury
Incandescent with rage, rage
We said it and we went back to work 

II.

The night we learned that what we already knew
was now constitutionally true
I called my friend
I’m making dinner, I said, and laughed
I guess I’m standing here making dinner now
Let them eat broccoli, she said
I laughed
No, she said, I mean it
Let the fuckers eat broccoli
Put it in the microwave, stink the whole house up
You’re crazy, I laughed
And then I laughed some more
I laughed until I shrieked a little
I laughed until my throat was split open wide flayed raw
I laughed until my blood ran down thick and pink impure
I tried to trap the laugh in my mouth and came away
with shards of shattered skin in my hands, but
It was fine
That’s just how we laughed
That’s just how we all laughed then 

What we’re gonna do, she said, my friend
Is we’re gonna burn it all down
And we’re gonna build a BOAT
What the fuck, I laughed, incredulous
What are you even saying
No, she said, no
I’m serious
We’re gonna build a BOAT and we’re gonna GO 

And we did.

III. 

That first night we met at dusk the blue smoky moon glared for us
We dressed in warm clothes and we wore sensible shoes
We packed whatever we could get our hands on
That included but was not limited to:

Sharp heavy rocks
Dull heavy rocks
One mother brought her son’s little league bat
Stiletto heels
Fine-nibbed fountain pens
Kitchen knives
Kitchen knife sharpening stones
Frying pans
Le Creuset dutch ovens
Mops
Brooms jagged into points that had been whittled to sharp pretty ends
There really were a lot of stilettos


We did not leave notes
We did not wipe down the kitchen counters
We did not pack the lunches schedule the doctor appointments send one last email throw in a load
of laundry file that report take the dog to the vet
We let the dog howl
We put the broccoli in the microwave and we made the whole house stink
We were messy bitches

IV.

We had our bags our knives the smoky blue moon rising
And we just started to smash stuff
At first we were tentative
We laughed a little, embarrassed, maybe
One woman threw a rock at a car window
It pinged off and fell down at her feet
She giggled
Another woman picked up a broom and tested its weight against her palm, tap tap tapped it
And then she threw that broom right through a window, just like that
We stopped and we looked
We looked at each other, the broom, the rocks in our hands the heavy bags
that were our hearts
We stopped laughing
We stopped laughing and we got to work
oh boy did we get to work
First the cars, then the shop windows
The smoky blue moon made the shattered glass sparkle like stars 

V.

On the second night there were fires
On the third, the lights went out for good
On the fourth night, there were great winds
On the fifth, locusts (there are always
locusts with this kind of thing)
We all together kept moving
In our warm clothes and sensible shoes
On the sixth night the rains came, and with them the floods
All this time we had been building, of course
We had picked up the glass stars
And squatted among the ruins gathering what there was left of use: 

Twisted shards of scrap metal
Old wood
Flashlights
Candles
Tangled sheets
Tenderness
The ability to multitask
Democratic socialism
Free comprehensive healthcare for all 

And on the seventh night
We had done it
We had built a fucking boat 

VI.

Of course we brought the children
We brought the boys and we brought the girls
We brought them two by two into our ark
We sailed for twenty-eight days
And of course we were all synced up by then
Thanks to our mother the blue smoky moon

This shit is not hard
It’s just not that hard, to be, together
If we just listen
to the wind
to the sea
to our mother the blue smoky moon
Eventually, of course, we had to beach, we rafted
Ourselves on this new shore.
Hi, we said
to the new bodies there.
Hi.
Hi.
Hi, we laughed, we threw our heads back, sparkling glorious luminescent
Hi.

—-
Maggie Riggs has a M.A. in Social Thought from NYU and a B.A. in English from Drew University. She works as a freelance book editor in NYC, and studies poetry with Matthew Lippman. This is her first published poem.