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Poem of the Week: November 5, 2018

Hello readers! Every week, BOA's staff and interns share one of our favorite poems from our over 300 collections of poetry.

In the spirit of civic engagement and the American ideal of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, this week's poem is a selection from Christian Barter's Bye-Bye Land: a book-length symphonic poem on the hopes and fears of America at the dawn of the 21st century.

A selection from "Part I: The Warm Land"

They strolled the campuses.
They stood in chapels.
They stood in chapels, under the huge stained glass.
They drifted in silent, powerful automobiles.
They lived like Tudors.

They lived in projects.
They strolled the grassless lawns.
They lived in trailers, surrounded by dogs.
They lived in Tudors.
They lived in the White House
surrounded by dogs and Secret Service.
They were surrounded by disembodied motors.

They worried about the economic climate,
the falling dollar, collateralized debt.
They divided their items at the supermarket:
what the food stamps covered, what they didn’t.
They bought futures and shorts, blue chips and penny stocks.
“Spare change,” they said outside the Starbucks.

They worried about melting glaciers.
They worried about getting shot in the stairwell.
They worried about eating carbs.
They worried about getting turned away at the hospital.

They sat on marble benches
watching water erupt from the angels’ mouths.

They worked in automotive.
They worked the streets.
They were working in polyrhythms at the time.
Working the crowd. Working an angle.
Working every shift they could get.
Working the room. Working the land.
Working the theme of middle class ennui.
Working it. Working out.
Working in oils, working in clay.

Working in shit up to their knees.
Working on their marriages.
Working on their flaws.
Working together to bring peace to the Middle East.

One doesn’t need to know their private intentions.
The work tells all. 

Bye-Bye Land is available from booksellers nationwide. Buy a copy today from the BOA Bookstore.


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