It is Time to Write a Poem by PW Covington

It is to write a poem
A poem about riding a Trailways bus through Alabama
A poem about Piggly Wiggly state policemen
And flags and grits
And backyard-bred attack dogs
Gun shows
Southern pride

It is time to write a poem
Because what we’ve been busy with
isn’t working
These guns and prisons
Banks and borders
These laws and churches
These immigration mazes, religious hatreds
Must all have seemed like good ideas
at some point

All these wars

When I see your face in the morning
Before the news of the day comes charging in
Before the screens start screaming with page
Before the bodies roll in on the tide
Before the pragmatism of decades takes hold
It’s time to write a poem

It is time to write a poem to mail
away to foreign lands
To send off to the moon
(Remember, the moon, my love?)
To the planet Mars
To the core of this Earth
To the cosmic Colorado rubbage man
Because prayer isn’t doing the things it used to

It is time to commit poetry

It’s time to write a poem of witness
A Trans Atlantic “YAWP”
A HOWL
A “Yes, Yes, Y’all…and it don’t stop!”
It is not the time for ballads
I carry no corrido but my own
It is time to write a poem
‘cause it ain’t coming on TV

It’s time to write a poem
Today
On a Tuesday, on a Saturday night
Drunk or sad or covered in sweat
Shivering on a park bench
or washed in on the tide
With tubes and machines hooked to my heart
On our last good day together
Before opening the condom wrapper
Before paying the toll
Before making the reservations
It is time to write a poem

It is time to write a poem
Because we won’t last forever
And no one else is writing about
the smolder in your eyes
Because all those millennial promises
never came true
And 15 years is long enough to wait
It is time to write a poem

It is time to write a poem for Highlights magazine
for children in medical waiting rooms
A poem for Sky Mall magazine, glanced at once
at 30 thousand feet
A poem folded into a box and sold from
a cigarette vending machine
(Remember cigarette vending machines, my love?)
It is time to write a poem
use only what’s in your pocket
use only what you know is yours

Poetry ain’t shit, most days
but
It is time to write a poem
While we still can

I’ll only be a moment

It is time to write a poem

pw covington

PW Covington is a disabled veteran and convicted felon. His work has been published by both universities and underground ‘zines. He travels widely, but lives in rural Texas with his bulldog, Chesty.

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