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Poem-a-Day

Poem-a-Day is the original and only daily digital poetry series featuring over 250 new, previously unpublished poems by today's talented poets each year. On weekdays, poems are accompanied by exclusive commentary and audio by the poets. The series highlights classic poems on weekends. Launched in 2006, Poem-a-Day is distributed via email, web, and social media to 500,000+ readers free of charge. The series is curated by twelve poets from across the country who have wide-ranging expertise and editorial perspectives. Learn more about the 2019 guest editors and revisit the 2018 guest editors and the poems they curated.

So Many

Recorded for Poem-a-Day January 21, 2019.
About this Poem 

"I live in the East End in Houston, Texas, a neighborhood where my father's parents built a house in the 1920s and a space that my settler colonial family—mainly German but also Irish and other European lineages—has been transiting through for the last seven generations. Now, I move my body through this space of constant shifting, brazen capitalist profiteering, and displacement of working-class Latinx and Black folks, a few miles from the largest petrochemical complex in the United States. So many layers and so many so many so many... The poem happened one morning after a flood. Befitting my gulf coast home, the words flooded out too."
—John Pluecker

So Many

so many this mornings so many movement so many breezes 
so many cypress so many doorways demolished so many brush 
so many vines crawl up the front of that house and so many 
spaces so many wide open between one structure and another 
so many ditches so many cars parked in the grass in front of a home 
supposedly abandoned where people live so many branches 
piles at the curb so many beat-downs so many row houses 
gone and so many porches so many cut-throughs so many feeling
still in the wood so many highways invade so many train horns 
blow softly so many autumn morning so many springtime dusk 
so many pink afternoon as the sun peeks through the blinds so many 
pick-up trucks so many suvs so many milk factories and so many 
18 wheelers so many tiny plastic bottles of milk and so many oaks 
and so many farms and so many concrete and so many cracked 
and so many peeling paint so many thickness so many depression 
so many joy so many angry pinpricks so many back-ups so many 
give me a hug so many late night drunken driving so many early 
morning so many mourning doves so many cooing so many police 
sirens so many listening so many humans walk the middle of the road 
so many cars wait to pass so many anger and so many smile so many 
apprehension so many thistles so many concrete slabs so many gape
so many lost and so many nights so many grandmas so many grandkids 
so many people just trying to remember what used to be there 
so many new people who just got here so many things to misremember
so many escape memory so many brains so many bodies so many 
bodies gone and so many cemeteries marked and unmarked so 
many ditches so many huevo con papa and cake so many deep 
deep breaths so many sighs so many pauses so many moments of 
silence so many marches so many meetings god so many meetings 
so many attempts so many failures so many new townhomes so many 
dispossessed so many carwashes so many cowboy hats so many persons 
forced out so many barbecues so many coolers so many bags of ice so 
many country ballads so many accordions so many quiet so many loud 
so many noisy so many silent so many germans so many telephone road 
so many lasagna so many pupusa so many gordita so many jaywalkers 
and so many dance moves at the bus stop so many jiggling and so many 
cars pass by so many stares and so many awkwardness so many 
good mornings so many fuck you’s so many fights and so many love-
making so many graffitied so many murals so many old doors so many 
lintels so many country people come to the city so many bulldozers 
and so many work crews so many dusty lifts into air so many hardhats 
and so many pallets so many pine and so many sheet of metal 
so many buses so many stray dogs so many mean-mugging 
and so many evictions so many eminent domain so many minimizing 
and so many excuses so many money so many reasons so many justify 
so many sadness so many let it go and so many so-called misunder-
standings so many moldy and wet so many floodlines so many hurricanes 
so many attitudes so many perspectives so many sung and un-sung so 
many panaderías demolished so many pushing and so many pulling 
so many mechanics so many broken down cars so many lay in the sun so 
many wait so many trees blow in the early morning wind so many
speed up and so many people go home so many people go to work so 
many undone so many bulldozers so many hoses spray water on wreckage 
so many shovelfuls of metal and lumber so many precious objects discard so 
many lost in the tumble so many feelings so many yellow and red so many 
silver and gold so many blue and green so many green things so many grass 
so many suns beat down so many heatstrokes so many city moves on 
so many layers so many accumulations so many things a street a street remember 

Copyright © 2018 by John Pluecker. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 21, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by John Pluecker. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 21, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.