April Poetry Month (Day 17): Freesia McKee #npm15 #wppoets

[April Poetry Month 2015 Table of Contents]

Freesia McKee

Freesia McKee is a poet. Locally, her work has appeared in Rust Magazine, Burdock, The Riverwest Currents, Verse Wisconsin, and other venues. Freesia is a contributing writer to the Portland-based feminist literary website, PDXX Collective, and is currently participating in AWP’s Writer to Writer program.


The Union

And somewhere a poet
starts building a room. Two cats sunbathe
in the scrappy old yard where the poet has
taken her axe to the logs. Each hour splits

as the poet hones her blade.
The cats call when the poet takes rest on a stump:
“Why don’t you use any nails?” they say.
“Do you even know how to hew a raw trunk?”

Each time the poet splits herself here,
the yard’s edge opens to the dark
of the room.

The poet accepts the only choice. The lazy cats run away.

Have you built a dark space without nails or blueprints?
Have you abandoned the lot that they told you to build?
What is as irresistible as the pull of a stump?

The poet sits down alone. The poet pays her dues.

hey chuck

this guy brought a poem
to our workshop
about being a man.

they called
his poem
…….“bukowskian.”

almost everyone
at the table
loved it.

after the workshop,
one guy told me
to write a poem
that included the word
…….“cunt.”

he knew i wrote
poems about women.
what else was there
to say?

…….“bukowskian.”
do you get asked

what it feels like
to be a symbol
for something?

chuck, i’m writing
because to me,
you have become
a currency:
i know how included i can feel

if i quote you. the cost
is that my chair gets pulled
too close to

their table—
and that poem will
never be
bukowskian.

The Agitators

to work in the mornings
I walk the other direction
past a sign commemorating
Joshua
Glover
a runaway slave from near St. Louis
maybe where Ferguson is now
The Fugitive Slave Act
imprisoned
Joshua in Milwaukee
but protestors
broke down
the jail’s door
so Joshua
could get to Canada
on the Underground Railroad
…………………….Looking back at your life
…………………….wouldn’t you like
…………………….to say

……………………………I got involved
……………………………rose up to be counted
……………………………among the righteous
……………………………To watch
……………………………the movie of history
……………………………and say “That was us”
Instead
you go to the shopping mall
You’re at the ice
skating rink

or on your drive
home
when we disrupt
your passive participation
Instead you type doubts
into your telephone
You must think the jail’s
doors
opened wide for
Joshua
to walk out free
You must think
movements
are birthed
without blood
Which is not
to say
we want
anything to snap
but those
chains
Which is to say
there are
those
who texted the rewrite
of History’s
highway
When we marched across it
into a trap

[April Poetry Month 2015 Table of Contents]

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