Vox Populi

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David Kirby: Taking it home to Jerome

In Baton Rouge, there was a DJ on the soul station who was 
always urging his listeners to "take it on home to Jerome." 

No one knew who Jerome was. And nobody cared. So it 
didn't matter. I was, what, ten, twelve? I didn’t have anything 

to take home to anyone. Parents and teachers told us that all 
we needed to do in this world were three things: be happy, 

do good, and find work that fulfills you.  But I also wanted 
to learn that trick where you grab your left ankle in your 

right hand and then jump through with your other leg. 
Everything else was to come, everything about love: 

the sadness of it, knowing it can’t last, that all lives must end, 
all hearts are broken. Sometimes when I'm writing a poem, 

I feel as though I'm operating that crusher that turns 
a full-size car into a metal cube the size of a suitcase. 

At other times, I'm just a secretary: the world has so much 
to say, and I’m writing it down. This great tenderness.

Copyright 2016 David Kirby. From Get Up, Please (Louisiana State University Press, 2016).

David Kirby is the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of English at Florida State University. His many books include Help Me, Information (LSU, 2021).

5 comments on “David Kirby: Taking it home to Jerome

  1. Molly
    February 2, 2023

    So good.


  2. kim4true
    February 2, 2023

    Thank you, David, for saying those things I think, most mornings.


  3. Loranneke
    February 2, 2023

    That last line: how it shines upward throughout the whole poem!


    • Vox Populi
      February 2, 2023

      David Kirby is one of my favorite poets. In his casual off-hand way, he can soar!


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This entry was posted on February 2, 2023 by in Most Popular, Poetry, spirituality and tagged , , , , .

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