So, I’ve started my Patreon journal experiment in political poetry/charity. If you want to know all the details re: THE MANIFESTO and THE ACTION PLAN, then direct your attention to this link: The Samizdat. For $1 a poem (up to four a month), you’ll be supporting both poetry and politics–half of the money goes to the poet, half to a charity of their choice.
Since a significant part of this experiment is writing poetry with a political bent, and politics requires action, I will be spreading my poems as far and as wide as I am able (other contributors to The Samizdat will vary in this). And so here is the first result of the experiment, a poem inspired by Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago about the risks of letting others be targeted by the government (or even adjusting the sights of those with the weapons).
I’ve been rereading Solzhenitsyn’s giant history/act-of-recovery/commentary because it epitomizes the fear of what the U.S. might become, while also speaking to my own reluctance to get involved, my own weakness when it comes to standing up. I’ll be writing more about my experience rereading him soon, but for now you just get this poem.
Song of the Grave
(Oh, do not dig a grave for someone else!)
~Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
The mouth opens. Worms and roots line its cheeks.
Its teeth are shovel blades. The moisture-blooded soil
refuses to let go, gnawing on boot soles. Skin can be leather, too,
something tough to hold the organs in, something numb to feeling.
We are born into being alone, live alone, die alone, if lucky,
rest alone in our marked graves. If not, we become landscape.
Either way, people say thereâ€™s a paradise in that us-shaped space
weâ€™re destined to fill. Since weâ€™re all going to the same place,
does it matter how soon we get there? Only dig the grave
youâ€™re prepared to climb into. Only open the mouth
youâ€™re ready to speak from. The suited men fill their palms with teeth.
They fill the mouths with dirt. They fill the graves with voices.