A Poem for Leftists


by Sandra Simonds

Last year I wrote a poem
In the park
In the long, endless park
Sitting across from the White House
I don’t know if the poem was any good
Maybe it’s lost
I lose a lot of poems
Just like at times I have lost a lot of you

I had gone to an art exhibit
It was “sensory” and pretty
Like installations or something
You could walk into rooms
And you could fall into the rooms
Because the art was enchanting
And everything enchanting feels
As if you are falling through the sky
Like a wounded god

And I remember there were plastic
Insects in the rooms and there were
Beautiful metals hanging down
And shimmering making me feel
As if I would always be young
Which is a lie and a silly lie
And anyway what’s the point of this artifice
That feels so empty, so removed
From the very world that made it?

And I thought as a western person
Living in the 21st century
I don’t want to be enchanted
And the art made me sad
Almost as sad as sitting across from
The White House in the park

I’ve never aspired to be a poet
Who received an invitation to the White House
Or the Bank of America
and I’ve never liked art
That told me what to do
No, but I have aspired to sit in the park here,
Oh now I am back again
In the greenest grasses of life
With the dead
Comrades or the ones who went crazy
or gave up entirely
I am here today with
All the dead workers
I hear you today
Living so clearly in the
cells of this soil–where will you go
now that I have given you my body
like a terrible grave?

I recognize you in me and
me in you and I believe with our back
toward the White House we face each other
The dead and the living
Inside our shared political economy
Which is our back to the nation state

I sit with you
I sit with you always
I sit with you inside
the love I feel for you
Inside the things we know
Yes, the political love that may never
be returned which is returned every moment of this life
I sit with you burning in the sun
I sit with you in the grave
I sit with you in the heavens
For the love of each other
For our hatred of money
With our weak tools
And our weakening bodies
And our dead bodies


About the Author:

Sandra Simonds is the author of Steal it Back (Saturnalia Books, 2015)The Sonnets (Bloof Books, 2014), Mother Was a Tragic Girl (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2012) and Warsaw Bikini (Bloof Books, 2008). Her poems have been anthologized in the Best American Poetry 2014 and 2015. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Granta, American Poetry Review, The Chicago Review, Fence and elsewhere. She is an assistant professor of English and Humanities at Thomas University in Thomasville, Georgia.