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Poems about America
by Emma Lazarus
A House Divided
by Kyle Dargan
Abraham Lincoln
by Abraham Lincoln
by Richard Blanco
by Claude McKay
by Walt Whitman
by Robert Creeley
by Herman Melville
America [Try saying wren]
by Joseph Lease
Black Laws
by Roger Reeves
Gate A-4
by Naomi Shihab Nye
Handshake Histories
by Jeff Hoffman
I am the People, the Mob
by Carl Sandburg
by Kamilah Aisha Moon
Last Century
by Wyatt Prunty
Like Any Good American
by Brynn Saito
Passing Through Albuquerque
by John Balaban
by Vanessa Place
The Blank of America
by Terese Svoboda
The House-top
by Herman Melville
Poems about Living
"I'm afraid of death"
by Kathleen Ossip
A Toast
by Ilya Kaminsky
Another Elegy
by Jericho Brown
Ashes of Life
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
August, 1953
by David Wojahn
bonne chance de lycťe
by Buck Downs
Characteristics of Life
by Camille T. Dungy
Corpse Flower, Luna Moth
by Daniel Tobin
Costumes Exchanging Glances
by Mary Jo Bang
Daily Life
by Susan Wood
Difficult Body
by Mark Wunderlich
Elegy in Joy [excerpt]
by Muriel Rukeyser
En Route
by Darcie Dennigan
far memory
by Lucille Clifton
First Things to Hand
by Robert Pinsky
Flowers of Rad
by Sampson Starkweather
Forth Into View, Random Warriors
by Pattiann Rogers
from Oracles for Youth
by Caroline Gilman
from Two Inch Fables
by Marilyn Chin
by Natasha Head
How to Uproot a Tree
by Jennifer K. Sweeney
I could suffice for Him, I knew (643)
by Emily Dickinson
I Have a Rendezvous With Life
by Countee Cullen
I Know A Few Things
by Stuart Dischell
In a Landscape: IV
by John Gallaher
In Betweenness
by Pierre Joris
by Alicia Suskin Ostriker
by Joe Brainard
Life is Fine
by Langston Hughes
Little Night Prayer
by Péter Kántor
Living in Numbers
by Claire Lee
Lost and Found
by Ron Padgett
Mass for the Day of St. Thomas Didymus [excerpt]
by Denise Levertov
by Carl Dennis
Meditation 29
by Philip Pain
by Ernest Hemingway
My Teacup
by Alli Warren
On Disappearing
by Major Jackson
On Living
by Nazim Hikmet
On the Gallows Once
by Kofi Awoonor
One Train May Hide Another
by Kenneth Koch
Past Inclemency & Present Warmth
by Eryn Green
Poem Excluding Fiction
by Noah Falck
by Effie Waller Smith
Primitive State [excerpt]
by Anselm Berrigan
Roar Shack
by Alice Fulton
Samurai Song
by Robert Pinsky
Song for Future Books
by Joanna Fuhrman
Songs of a Girl
by Mary Carolyn Davies
by Bill Knott
by Mark Doty
sugar is smoking
by Jason Schneiderman
Summer in Winter in Summer
by Noah Eli Gordon
Tear It Down
by Jack Gilbert
The Clouded Morning
by Jones Very
The Layers
by Stanley Kunitz
The Life So Short...
by Eamon Grennan
The Old Stoic
by Emily BrontŽ
The Pain
by Laura Kasischke
The Secret
by Denise Levertov
This is My Life
by William Stanley Braithwaite
by Walt Whitman
Thrown as if Fierce & Wild
by Dean Young
Variation on a Theme
by W. S. Merwin
Virgil's Hand
by Francesc Parcerisas
What the Living Do
by Marie Howe
What Wild-Eyed Murderer
by Peter Meinke
What's Left (Al-Mutanabbi Street)
by Katrina Roberts
Where I Live
by Maxine Kumin
won't you celebrate with me
by Lucille Clifton
Yellow Beak
by Stephen Dobyns
[I'm not with my]
by Joshua Beckman
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C'est La Guerre

by Danniel Schoonebeek

If I see one more shred of pink rust come peeling off the face of this warehouse tonight. 

With my bouquet of railroad ties that I plucked from the Union Pacific whoíll witness me. 

When Iíve found the man who named the road on which you grew up and defaced him. 

And wearing his fatherís crushed suit and his cufflinks I fire your name in his furrows. 

When Iíve poured his mother a whiskey and coffee and beer-back Iíll learn her our myth. 

We come from low country with deer ticks in our blood is that what theyíre selling. 

In search of the black horse who spits on the hay and the barley and hunger strikes. 

Who lost the blue horse he loved and heíll die with his eye on the wood where she fell. 

I fire your name in the furrows tonight for the ones who refuse to survive themselves. 

Who say every five seconds the nations of dead they tell me my job is assuage them. 

And every five seconds when I tear out their stitches I tear them out five seconds long. 

It is you with the planks of rotting down barns in your arms I am barreling toward. 

It is you from the jackshit connivances of yesterdayís scofflaw patrol I will kidnap. 

And who will say amen if I fell one more empire that was raised from a handful of litter.

And who will help quit our mothers who will not quit treading the rafters of savagery. 

And who will carry our fathers from the ditches where they crashed their radio flyers.  

With a bouquet of railroad ties in a crushed suit I will field you this question come winter. 

In the apocryphal gossip of sea kings my face is scrimshaw like theyíve never witnessed. 

He sunk himself like a dreadnaught into the sea to landmark her joy is that what they say. 

And who will witness me if Iím one page in a long book of ways to say no with no ending.

And if I come to your door come winter in crushed suit with the stitches to prove you.
About this poem:
ďLate last year I traveled by train across America and gave poetry readings in something like eighteen cities. Whenever I was alone on the train I worked on this poem, and in my head itís dedicated to everyone I met in those cities, everyone I read with and stayed with and everyone whose stories I heard along the way. 'Cíest la guerre' means 'itís the war' in the French and itís a phrase of resignation that seeped into our culture after WWII. Itís a bittersweet way of toasting whatís wrong in your life, with a slight kiss-off to the forces beyond your control. I am how I am, itís the war, if you will. Roger Thornhill speaks the phrase in North by Northwest, which I saw for the first time on the tail end of this tour.Ē

—Danniel Schoonebeek

Copyright © 2014 by Danniel Schoonebeek. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on March 6, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.
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