05.31.2019
Weekly poem on Trump Presidency

 

ZOHAR ATKINS

Fake Elegy

Sun-kissed poplars trigger me.
Sentences trigger me.
The word “me” makes me
feel unsafe. Irony is a form
of white supremacy.
Mass expressions of sadness
are tools of capitalism.
So is calling out whatever
we hate and getting liked.
Nothing sells a good self-image
more than intersectionality.
If your xenophobia isn’t anti-artichoke,
anti-testing and anti-negativity
you’re not optimizing for brand recognition.
This is not an I-statement.
When you called me a fascist I felt
you were, maybe, projecting?
But the poem asks why my ire is reserved
for the pseudo-virtuous instead of the wicked? 
Why will you post about posting
but not another shooting?
Why does the king of the inverted world
insist on being above a rally-selfie?
Is it because of your internalized skepticism
or fear of being seen as a wannabe?
Thank you for coming to my poem.
Thank you for letting me tell you about my childhood
so you can learn that verbal people are also people.

—-

Zohar Atkins is a rabbi, poet, and scholar. He is the author of Nineveh (Carcanet, 2019) and An Ethical and Theological Appropriation of Heidegger’s Critique of Modernity. He is the 2018 recipient of an Eric Gregory Award for Poetry. Atkins is the Founder and Director of Etz Hasadeh, a Center for Existential Torah Study, and a Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America.