Category Poetry

Watching My Granddaughter’s Gymnastics Class While Congress Debates AR-15s

WATCHING MY GRANDDAUGHTER’S GYMNASTICS CLASS
                     WHILE CONGRESS DEBATES AR-15s

                                   By Andrew Hidas

Everything to live for,
the everything
stretched out
before them,
gamboling like lambs
let loose
to bound
and bound
in the
tall grasses of spring.

Parents on their phones
up above, a half-eye at
most diverted from Facebook,

the glowing faces
of their daughters
lost in the jumble of
limbs below.

“He shot my friend that was next to me and I thought
he was going to come back to the room, so I grabbed
the blood and put it all over me.”

That was Miah the other day,
testifying to a House committee
on the trickery she used to save
her life, though what nightmares still
await that life we can only, grimly,
imagine.

“Sweet Miah,” Uvalde’s only pediatrician
called her, trailing off at the same hearing
after describing the scene at ...

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What Now? From Empathy To Action

“What shall I do now? What shall I do?”/I shall rush out as I am, and walk the street/”With my hair down, so. What shall we do to-morrow?/“What shall we ever do?”

The words are from T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland,” published exactly one century ago, when they haunted a world shaken by a barbaric, convulsive war that had upended all received notions of a post-Enlightenment humanity embedded firmly in reason and aiming toward limitless progress and the common good.

The fact that a second, even more destructive and demonic war engulfed the world not even two decades later simply added to the tone of desperation and floundering Eliot had noted.

Today, the same questions are being asked by an almost equally shell-shocked American population, hard off the latest mass slaughter of innocents by a malformed 18-year-old youth armed with weapons of war.

And the question haunts: “What shall we do now?”

***

William Blak...

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They’re Planting Tulips in Kharkiv

    THEY’RE PLANTING TULIPS IN KHARKIV

           By Andrew Hidas

The news tells us of mass
tulip plantings in Kharkiv,
just one more Ukrainian city
bringing new definition
to the word “beleaguered”
in this long spring of horrors.

I picture those tulips tightly clutched
in fists, shaken and ascending to
the heavens as an ultimate “Fuck you!”
to the bomb-droppers and missile senders
who become blinded by the color explosion
of tulip petals hurled aloft in anger, defiance
and hope—blessed, dubious, inexplicable hope.

In our front garden the other day,
the world’s most purposeful sparrow
hops across the gravel, sweeping
up dead leaves in her beak till they
obscure her entire head, a holy payload
destined to welcome life in a nearby tree.

I marvel at her madness of intention,
the sacred instinct for survival and comfort
guiding her every move like no missile
guidance system ever afforded ...

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Resurrection for Non-Christians: A Poem

               RESURRECTION FOR NON-CHRISTIANS

                                  By Andrew Hidas

Stay with me now, you non-Christians (of which I am one).
The hard believers will insist there’s nothing for you here,
Irredeemable heathens that you persist in Being.
But believe not, I say, in those believers, their binaries
Blinding them to nuance, context, symbol, the
Dusky liminal depths of myth more real than reality.

Resurrection is yours, too, for the taking.

You need not wear a cross on your chest,
Nor hang on one for the many sins you
Share in common with your brothers and sisters,
Perfection being the chimera that the
Christ himself was said to dispel.

Sinning is yours, too, for the committing.

You need only behold the tulips of spring,
The spring in your own step as day beckons
Or night falls with the slow revelation of stars.

Death and rebirth suffuse our lives, all life it...

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Thanks, But No Thanks: Lisel Mueller’s “Monet Refuses the Operation”

We’re not much given to ecstasies, visions or fantastical disruptions of form, light and sound in the workaday world. Observe the social conventions, show up in the conference room at the appointed hour, monitor your in-box, and don’t say anything stupid or offensive on social media from the confines of your cubicle.

Keep that up for 40 or so years, let the IRA compound, then hunt for the perfect landing place—single-story, welcoming and with a woodsy name—to ensure your own version of domestic, senescent tranquility.

And then there are artists, whose creations, in the words of 20th century French philosopher George Bataille, inhabit “a minor free zone outside action, paying for its freedom by giving up the real world.”

I’m not sure artists “give up” the real world so much as they challenge the very foundations of what most people claim the real world is...

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