Today's prompt was to write about what our revolution would look like.
I wasn't really sure. I'm not very good at writing "political" poetry, though it's something I'd like to learn. On the Poetry Foundation website today, Carolyn Forshe was poet of the day, and her poem The Boatman is incredibly powerful. There was also a podcast about her poem, and I read an essay on her work as poetry of witness.
I'd like to study this further. I just sometimes feel like I don't have any right to speak about some of the "big issues" going on in our world because I lead a sheltered life. I sometimes think I need to get outside my bubble and experience more so that my poetry can be filled with this kind of urgency, so I can make the "political" poetry more of a socially-conscious poetry.
Anyway, that's kind of what this poem is about today.
As some of you know, I've gone nearly deaf in one ear fairly recently, which is an interesting metaphor for MY OWN insular way of living, but also, the average American's, too.
Next week, I have an appointment to meet with a surgeon who may be able to restore my hearing. I was talking about this to a man who is hearing impaired, who wears hearing aids, and he told me that sometimes, he enjoys the silence. That those who are hearing impaired are, as he put it, blessed with a certain kind of silence, can turn the world on or off.
That's complex. And it's something very much on my mind as I think about restoring my hearing. Do I want to hear the world around me? Is it my responsibility to hear the world around me? Is it healthy to hear the world around me?
My ear is the ear of a nation,
Broken, ruined, eroded
From some infection
Of apathy or anger or grief
That we can’t quite exorcise
From the body. A mold
That’s settled in because our air
Is dirty or humid from all the standing water
Of what we leave unsaid, unheard, undone.
A rupture caused by a build-up
Of pressure that the fragile peace
Of skin just couldn’t handle anymore.
The drum burst one cold January,
And it hasn’t healed since, not even a scab.
It’s an open wound I tend each morning,
Noon and night, worry over, try to forget.
Now, instead of hearing the music
Of the world, its chorus of suffering,
I hear just a distant ringing of tinnitus.
And at first, it was disorienting, the muffled soundscape
Of a world so loud with grieving mothers
Shrieking in Aleppo
From grief and hunger
Shrieking in Reynosa,
In the wake of a gunshot
Shrieking in Port Arthur
As another young man
Dies at the hands of the police.
But now, that soft humming
In my ear, that almost silence
Is a sort of comfort.
I can fix it, the surgeon says,
Pencils me in for next week
Where he’ll open up my skull
And force me to hear again,
This loud loud loud loud world.
And I nod. I agree
Because change sounds like
Ten billion ears open,
Ten billion drums in tact,
Beating, beating, beating
Truth into the brain, the mind
Listening to the sad chorus of the earth.