“A Political Poem” by Brian Wiora

Brian Wiora


A political poem is an egg with a Trojan horse inside it, is
the dead children with their hands stretched out, is the children
dying, is the sound that winter makes when it reaches the end
of snow, is the final cut of a postwar dream, is a dream I had
where all the children mocked me for my indifference, my living,
is cold, is crucified, is never a metaphor, is an AR-15
with a Trojan horse inside it, is how you woke me up and said
the children are over, is the smell of old blood, is my mother
forgetting the code to open the garage door, is a marionette
box-locked after its bewildering performance
at the St. Jude’s Children’s Theatre, is the way I wake up
to the news of another mass shooting, is another mass shooting,
is the children singing Ring Around the Rosie
without any knowledge of the plague, is the plague
of indifference, is a marionette inside a Trojan horse,
is Harry Nilsson spitting blood on the microphone to impress
John Lennon, is when Lennon said The Beatles were more
popular than Jesus Christ, is cold, is crucified, is when
my mother introduced me to The Beatles, is when
my mother forgot the code to the garage door,
is when you called me and left a strange voicemail
about space and time and what you need, what we owe
each other when one of us falls off the wagon again
and becomes the scotch and matches, is a dance club
in Orlando, a cinema in Colorado, a brother
fighting brother, is when snug guns go bang and blaze
the open pasture, is when the Soviets shot Tsar Alexander’s family
and the men died in their suits but the women survived
because their diamond embroidered dresses
blocked the bullets and the Soviets kept shooting but the women
wouldn’t die and they thought it was the elderhand of God
pushing away the bullets, is cold, is crucified,
is when we watched the documentary about the escape
of Anastasia and you said how sad and I asked
how sad was it, is dead children dying with their hands
shot off, is a weapon of mass destruction, is a lie,
is my mother with a tired snore so loud no matter
how many pillows I place over my head, is
our sick addiction to video games where one player shoots
and the other automatically respawns, is a closet
where Patty Hearst was kept alive until she became Tania
and fought for the Symbionese, is a child wondering why
the skies are blue when they should be happy,
is a father silently doubting our emotional response to blue,
is when a father says do as I say, not as I do,
is when Absolom’s father held his dying son in his arms
and said my son, my son, what has become of you,
is how winter folds over because it is cold, is crucified,
is Roy Harper’s only take on that fat cigar, is children dying
of secondhand smoke, is Syd Barret brushing his teeth
with a crazy diamond shining inside him, is an AR-15
without any regulation, is without you—the eye
of Annie Oakley’s apple, the Adam and Eve of it all
is the original gut shot, is the white of wide eyes,
is the martyr’s original endeavor, is Peter’s well-washed feet
by the cold hands of the soon to be crucified, is the service
where the pastor sends his thoughts and prayers to dead children
with their hands stretched out, is Clare Torrey’s scream
on the first side of Dark Side, is the false surprise
when I learn my mother has that incurable disease of aging,
is the marionette’s way of pretending he has limbs
with a gentle stretch, is when you said
you don’t need me anymore, is my clutch against the grain,
is my wave of sorrow do not drown me now, is the slush
that turns from frozen water, is my mother’s brain
with a Trojan horse inside it, is the children, the children,
is a God I need but cannot believe in.

from Poets Respond
February 25, 2018


Brian Wiora: “This is a poem inspired by the aftermath of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.” (web)

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