Reasons to Survive November

Reasons to Survive November

Tony Hoagland (Listen to the Poetcast.)

November like a train wreck –
as if a locomotive made of cold
had hurtled out of Canada
and crashed into a million trees,
flaming the leaves, setting the woods on fire.

The sky is a thick, cold gauze –
but there’s a soup special at the Waffle House downtown,
and the Jack Parsons show is up at the museum,
full of luminous red barns.

– Or maybe I’ll visit beautiful Donna,
the kickboxing queen from Santa Fe,
and roll around in her foldout bed.

I know there are some people out there
who think I am supposed to end up
in a room by myself

with a gun and a bottle full of hate,
a locked door and my slack mouth open
like a disconnected phone.

But I hate those people back
from the core of my donkey soul
and the hatred makes me strong
and my survival is their failure,

and my happiness would kill them
so I shove joy like a knife
into my own heart over and over

and I force myself toward pleasure,
and I love this November life
where I run like a train
deeper and deeper
into the land of my enemies.

(from What Narcissism Means to Me. Saint Paul, MN: Graywolf, 2003.)

Comments God, Hoagland isn't afraid to go for that jugular, is he? Thank you for introducing me to this poem.
jim said…
Thank you for this wonderful poem.

It is a dreary rainy election day. I needed this.
January said…
I heard the poetcast of the poem and it took my breath away.

Yes, seems appropriate for a dreary November election day (it's supposed to rain here this evening).
ecm said…
Loved this poem! The title is great and it does seem appropriate for this month
paris parfait said…
Wow! What a in-in-your-face bold poem! Thank you for sharing it today.
Catherine said…
That's a wonderful poem. And I think our weather is as wet as yours at the moment.
I'm thinking of writing about the whole grant application/book publishing thing for my Poetry Thursday post, if you are interested to hear more
January said…
Catherine, yes I'm interested. Can't wait to read about it for Poetry Thursday.

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