“The Anti-Protest” by Robert Keiser

Robert Keiser


I’m tired of the moon. So what if it
reflects light. So what if its gravity
holds us in place. I scream at it but
clearly it’s inanimate. It has always
been seen as a giant when it is but
a windmill. Maybe the government
is right: It’s better to just listen to
what the TV says. The truth is a
terrifying game of risk. In this spirit,
I write this in the notes section of
my phone, which reflects a light
much more useful than the moon,
if cancerous. The line must break
somewhere. Why not let it be
dictated by the length of the screen?
So you with your ink and quill, do
what you will. Mine seems lost,
only a reflection, burning lifelessly
through my bedroom window. A
light in the clouds and the dark blue
sky. The moon’s stupid light, just
what it is.

Poets Respond
April 18, 2017

[download audio]


Robert Keiser: “This poem came after a week or so of consuming news about Syria in preparation for a conversation class with ESL students at a public university in Brazil. I tried to consume news from corporate media, independent journalists, as well as the Syrian government. I thought I was prepared for my class, yet I was surprised by the difficult and illuminating points and questions raised by my students who come from a much different perspective than my own. After several late nights of trying to understand what was happening, I arrived at a familiar place—nausea. I don’t think I came across a single article that wasn’t wrapped up with agendas, attempts to fuel our collective ego, our ideologies, their ratings, and what’s worse, using people’s suffering to accomplish these goals. Maybe I am the naïve one. Maybe it’s because the truth doesn’t sell, or because the truth is much too sad and complex to portray in any twelve-minute news report.”

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