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today's poet
Melissa Stein
Melissa Stein


Recorded for Poem-a-Day, February 5, 2016.
About this Poem 

“I grew up near Philadelphia and lived in the city for many years. One day I found myself writing a sort of ode to the rough-and-tumble urban landscape of those times. After the poem was finished, I realized I’d left out one of the most seminal elements of our teens and early twenties: music. The poem’s title is my homage.”
—Melissa Stein


Melissa Stein

We were all in love
but didn’t know it.
We were all in love
continually. Bless
our little hearts,
smoking and drinking
and wrecking things.
Bless our shameless shame.
We were loud, invincible.
We were tough as rails.
We stole street signs
and knocked over bins.
Ripped the boards
off boarded-up stuff.
Slept in towers
filled with pigeon shit
and fluff. We kicked
beer bottles down
cobbled lanes.
Tires and chains.
Chains and wheels
and skin. The world
was always ending
and we the inventors
of everything.

Copyright © 2016 Melissa Stein. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2016 Melissa Stein. Used with permission of the author.

Joy Harjo

Classic Books of American Poetry

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Academy Chancellor C. D. Wright (1949-2016) at Poets Forum, 2015, in New York City
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