tell the flowers—they think
the sun loves them.
The grass is under the same
simple-minded impression

about the rain, the fog, the dew.
And when the wind blows,
it feels so good
they lose control of themselves

and swobtoggle wildly
around, bumping accidentally into their
slender neighbors.
Forgetful little lotus-eaters,

solar-powered
hydroholics, drawing nourishment up
through stems into their
thin green skin,

high on the expensive
chemistry of mitochondrial explosion,
believing that the dirt
loves them, the night, the stars—

reaching down a little deeper
with their pale albino roots,
all Dizzy
Gillespie with the utter
sufficiency of everything.

They don't imagine lawn
mowers, the four stomachs
of the cow, or human beings with boots
who stop to marvel

at their exsquisite
flexibility and color.
They persist in their soft-headed

hallucination of happiness.
But please don't mention it.
Not yet. Tell me
what would you possibly gain

from being right?

Notes:

POL Students: Because the title of Tony Hoagland’s poem flows into the first line, the student may either introduce and recite the poem in the traditional format, i.e. title, author, poem, or the student may say the title, author, and then repeat the title as the first line of the poem. The student should not be penalized for choosing one method over the other.

  • Tony Hoagland, "Please Don’t" from Application for Release from the Dream. Copyright © 2015 by Tony Hoagland.  Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press.

  • Source: Application for Release from the Dream (Graywolf Press, 2015)

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