North American Time, by Adrienne Rich

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North American Time

I

When my dreams showed signs
of becoming
politically correct
no unruly images
escaping beyond borders
when walking in the street I found my
themes cut out for me
knew what I would not report
for fear of enemies’ usage
then I began to wonder

II

Everything we write
will be used against us
or against those we love.
These are the terms,
take them or leave them.
Poetry never stood a chance
of standing outside history.
One line typed twenty years ago
can be blazed on a wall in spraypaint
to glorify art as detachment
or torture of those we
did not love but also
did not want to kill.

We move but our words stand
become responsibly
for more than we intended

and this is verbal privilege

VII

I am thinking this in a country
where words are stolen out of mouths
as bread is stolen out of mouths
where poets don’t go to jail
for being poets, but for being
dark-skinned, female, poor.
I am writing this in a time
when anything we write
can be used against those we love
where the context is never given
though we try to explain, over and over
For the sake of poetry at least
I need to know these things

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About j. j. marino

As a creaky & cranky a-social agoraphobic anchorite, living in seclusion in the Great North Woods & keeping centered by the Power of the Written Word, a blog would seem to be a fat pitch in my strike zone.

Posted on March 29, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. May she rest in peace:-(

  2. “For the sake of poetry at least
    I need to know these things”

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