07.28.17
Weekly poem on Trump Presidency

RANDALL MANN

Not Today

an inaugural poem for the Resistance, 1/20/2017

 

Two terms end. Something else begins
under an unknowable shadow,
like a silent partner.

I think we are not going to be silent.
Today more than ever, speech matters.
Because what we say, or fail to say,

and the way we say it—
due process,
environmental justice, a living wage

more than reflective turns of phrase.
The point is this:
maybe nothing is pointless.

I have seen, in this bewildering time,
great, small acts of compassion and courage.
If truth is hazy, like poetry,

let me say this as clearly as I can:
I’ve been awakened by what I have seen
in the distance. So many signs.

In the distance, so many signs.
I’ve been awakened by what I have seen.
Let me say this as clearly as I can,

if truth is hazy, like poetry:
great, small acts of compassion and courage
I have seen in this bewildering time?

Maybe nothing is pointless.
The point is this,
more than reflective turns of phrase.

Environmental justice, a living wage,
due process—
and the way we say it—

because what we say, or fail to say
today: more than ever, speech matters.
I think. We are not going to be silent.

Like a silent partner,
under an unknowable shadow,
two terms end. Something else begins.

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Randall Mann's fourth book of poems, Proprietary, was recently published by Persea Books. His other books include Straight Razor (Persea Books, 2013) and Breakfast with Thom Gunn (Chicago, 2009).  He lives in San Francisco. 

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illustration: anna_croc01

illustration: anna_croc01