On Fri Nov 11th, Dulwich Books hosted a poetry event titled “Unacknowledged Legislators” as part of this year’s Dulwich Literary Festival.
Kate Miller, Joey Connolly, and John Clegg shared their poetry with an audience of around 20. Hearing a poet read a poem that s/he has written is a truly special experience because it allows the listener to be a part of the intimacy that exists between the poet and his or her words.
Each of the poet’s personalities shone through the poems that were read. Clear voices lent themselves to quirky jokes and introspective musings that were expressed with sonically and semantically beautiful phrases.
The event was introduced by Michael Schmidt, who prefaced the reading by saying that the writers and their poems were all political to an extent, as suggested by the event’s title, “Unacknowledged Legislators.” As such, I thought it would be appropriate to write a poem of my own in response as an American citizen in the wake of a seriously contentious election.
_ _ _
When I left you at LAX, I was full of
excitement for my journey
and tiredness, self-inflicted, from staying up all night
to pack my procrastination into suitcases.
I didn’t think I would feel
so removed. We’ve been apart three months.
Leaving felt like cheating, but I had nothing
to be sorry for. I didn’t mean to be the silent
lover who disentangles herself
from the bedsheets and disappears, leaving
nothing but a wrinkled indent on your pillow; or
the mother who drops off her child on the first day of preschool,
promising to come back as the cries
of betrayal enter the ears but don’t travel down
far enough to reach the heart.
Anatomy is cruel that way.
I’m lucky I’m not pessimistic–
I have the privilege of seeing
the silvery strings sewn so elusively
that the slightest unawareness will lead to linings lost.
I refuse to give up because that would mean
that I had nothing left
to give. Some say hope is the same as naïvety,
and I am sad
to think how sad they must always be.
Don’t reject me before I return.