poem index

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

Recorded for Poem-a-Day, December 3, 2018.
About this Poem 

“The current political moment registers as both a crisis and the continuation of longstanding, poisonous strains of racism and capitalism, so I wanted to write intergenerationally. I am very interested in poems that don’t try to smooth over crisis or find ‘meaning’ in violence. Is there a potential for transformation in staying within what’s uncomfortable? Thus, the questions that remain unanswered, the worry that is not soothed.”
—Susan Briante

13 Questions for the Next Economy

On the side of the road, white cardboard in the shape of a man,
     	     illegible script. A signpost with scrawl: Will pay cash for 
              diabetes strips.
 
A system under the system with its black box.                    	Disability hearing?
a billboard reads. Trouble with Social Security? Where does the riot begin?
 
Spark of dry grass, Russian thistle in flames, or butterflies bobbing
as if pulled by unseen strings            	  through the alleyway.
        	
My mother’s riot would have been peace. A bicycle wheel
              chained to a concrete planter. What metaphor
 
              can I use to describe the children sleeping in cages in 
                  detention
centers? Birds pushed fenceward by a breeze? A train of brake lights
 
extending? Mesquite pods mill under our feet
on a rainless sidewalk. What revolution            will my daughter feed?
 
A break-the-state twig-quick snap or a long divining       	    as if
for water? A cotton silence? A death?          	      Who will read this
 
in the next economy, the one that comes after the one that kills us?
What lessons will we take from the side of the road? A wooden crucifix,
 
a white bicycle, a pinwheel, a poem
waiting to be redacted:                         Which would you cross out?

Copyright © 2018 by Susan Briante. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 3, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Susan Briante. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 3, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Susan Briante

Susan Briante

Susan Briante is the author of three books of poetry including, most recently, The Market Wonders (Ahsahta Press, 2016).

by this poet

poem

In the PartyStore/PierOne/Target/Kohls parking lot
find a desert willow among the shopping carts,

walk around it sunwise repeating:

        I am the avant-garde, I am the avant-garde, I am the avant-garde

repeating:

        DIY, DIY, DIY

poem
I bleed a little, peyote tea waits in the refrigerator,
a Ferris Wheel rolls and rolls over the highway
after the miscarriage, we search 
for rings with missing stones, unmatched earrings
sell our gold, ride the Ferris Wheel bigger than Paris,
my parents pray for us, I play Dylan's "Spanish Boots"
over and over