To think I used to be so good at going to pieces
gobbling my way through the cops

and spooking what’s left of the girls. How’d I

get so far, sloughing off one knuckle at a time,
jerking my mossy pelt along

ruined streets? Those insistent, dreadful thuds

when we stacked our futile selves
against locked doors. Our mumbles and groans!

Such hungry nights! Staggering through the grit

of looted malls, plastered with tattered
flags of useless currency, I’d slobbered all over

the busted glass and merchandise of America ...

But first you’ll have to figure out those qualities
separating what’s being alive from

who’s already dead. Most of you will flunk that.

Next learn how to want one thing over and over,
night after night. Most of you

are good at that. Don’t get tired. Don’t cough

into your leftovers. Don’t think. Always stand
by your hobgoblin buddies. Clutch

at whatever’s there. Learn to sniff out sundowns.

What People are Saying

"I learned that no matter how many times I do it, I will still be nervous when I speak in public. I also learned that it is possible to experience the same poem many times in a row and still feel like I am discovering something new about myself through the words of the writer."
Madeleine Schroeder
2017 OH POL Champion