Weekly poem on Trump Presidency
New Bad Times
The new bad times aren’t any worse
than the old ones made quaint
by time and distance—
the bad past we’re grateful for,
we say, for teaching us something
only pain can. What lessons
will these times smuggle
with them into the future,
bullet-shaped parcels to be
swallowed or shoved up an ass?
As if present hell were a mule
for the wisdom of future
generations. Someday these new
bad times will be old, just another
portion of the bad past for children
to be tested on—shade the bubble
darkly with a number two pencil—
but will they find the lesson,
provided there’s one to learn?
The new bad times aren’t worse,
pound for pound, than the old ones.
The only difference is
they’re still here and so are we.
Maggie Smith’s most recent books are Good Bones (Tupelo Press, fall 2017) and The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison (Tupelo Press, 2015), winner of the Dorset Prize. Her poems have appeared in the New York Times, The Best American Poetry 2017, Ploughshares, AGNI, and elsewhere. In 2016 her poem “Good Bones” went viral internationally and was called the “Official Poem of 2016” by Public Radio International. Smith lives and writes in Ohio.