poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

Recorded at the High Line as part of the Academy's summer reading series, New York City, 2013
About this Poem 

"I offer this poem in memory of Trayvon Martin, in his own right and as representative of many others. I worked on making the writing tight, but even so, I invite you to imagine spaces between the sentences, into which you could insert additional sentences: your own observations and understandings of it. All together, perhaps, we could enable this poem to realize its full potential, as both epic and exorcism."
—Evie Shockley

it: a user's guide

Evie Shockley

i hear it jingling in the pockets of the innocent heirs of fundamentally well-meaning transatlantic traders and new world farmers. i see a wad of it stuffed in the jeans of the celebrities whose tracks, films, and reality shows are beloved by fans all across the nation and wherever american culture is exported. i feel it varnishing the walls of my classrooms and my home like a thick coat of paint. they paved the street with it last week. it is transporting, transcendent, the fastest way up and out. many brands of condoms use it as a lubricant, for her pleasure. it works to slide things through congress, too. i heard the military discovered it makes a great explosive, as demonstrated twice in japan for all the world to see. keep an eye on your drink at the club—they’ll slip some of it into your glass when you’re not looking, when your attention is focused on that scantily-clad ass and your head is pounding with the rhythm of the bass. better to get a prescription for it, take it in the recommended doses—and even then there may be side effects, including nausea, dry mouth, depression, anxiety, shortness of breath, insomnia, tremors, and memory loss. it’s an effective decongestant, opening clogged passages into colleges and universities, offices (corporate and political), and professional sports. you can light a fire with it, say, at your neighborhood barbeque, where even the vigilant (the e is silent) may burn the meat to a crisp. vigilance is the best way to demonstrate your innocence, inherited or acquired by other means, by any means necessary.

Copyright © 2013 by Evie Shockley. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on July 29, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Evie Shockley. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on July 29, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Evie Shockley

Evie Shockley

Embracing both free verse and formal structures, Evie Shockley straddles the divide between traditional and experimental poetics

by this poet

poem

 

Click the icon above to listen to this audio poem.

poem
self-portrait with cats, with purple, with stacks
      of half-read books adorning my desk, with coffee,

                  with mug, with yesterday's mug. self-portrait
            with guilt, with fear, with thick-banded silver ring,

      painted toes, and no make-up on my face. self-
            portrait
poem

 

Click the icon above to listen to this audio poem.