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.

  • Source: Poetry (March 2015)

What People are Saying

"I learned to enjoy older poems. At first, I hated the requirement that I had to choose a poem that was pre-20th century. However, as time went by, I began to enjoy the poems more and more. My favorite pre-20th century poet is now Emily Bronte. "
Eseme Segbefia
2018 NY POL Champ