A curated webspace for Poetry, Politics, and Nature. Over 15,000 daily subscribers. Over 7,000 archived posts.
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).
Thank you, David, for saying those things I think, most mornings.
Me too, Kim.
LikeLiked by 1 person
That last line: how it shines upward throughout the whole poem!
David Kirby is one of my favorite poets. In his casual off-hand way, he can soar!