By Camille Rankine
In the new century,
we lose the art of many things.
For example, at the beep, I communicate
using the wrong machine.
I called to say we have two lives
and only one of them is real.
When the phone rings: you could be anybody.
In the evening: you are homeless
and hunting for good light, as safe a place
as any to make a bed for the night.
In both my lives, my nerves go bust.
I’m certain that I’m not
as I appear, that I’m a figment and
you’re not really here.
I have a message.
You must believe me.
Camille Rankine, "Symptoms of Prophecy" from Incorrect Merciful Impulses. Copyright © 2016 by Camille Rankine. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.
Source: Incorrect Merciful Impulses (Copper Canyon Press, 2016)
More By This Poet
Our stone wall was built by slaves and my bones, my bones
are paid for. We have two
of everything, twice heavy
in our pockets, warming
our two big hands.
This is the story, as I know it. One morning:
the ships came, as foretold, and...
The Current Isolationism
In the half-light, I am most
at home, my shadow
When I feel hot, I push a button
to make it stop. I mean this stain on my mind
I can’t get out. How human
I seem. Like modern man,
I traffic in extinction. I...
More Poems about Arts & Sciences
Emily Dickinson at the Poetry Slam
I will tell you why she rarely ventured from her house.
It happened like this:
One day she took the train to Boston,
made her way to the darkened room,
put her name down in cursive script
and waited her turn.
When they read her name...
Altered After Too Many Years Under the Mask
I feel you