National Poem in Your Pocket Day

Did you know that April 14 is National Poem in Your Pocket Day? As part of the Academy of American Poets' National Poetry Month celebration, they are encouraging poets and poetry lovers to carry a favorite poem to share with others today.

While the Academy has a list of recommended poems, I wanted to spotlight a poem from a friend. The poem is "Shredding Me," by Kevin Carey, whose first poetry collection, The One Fifteen to Penn Station, is forthcoming from CavanKerry Press. This poem was nominated for a Pushcart Poetry Prize.

"Shredding Me" is the poem in my purse today!

Shredding Me

I was liberated by my shredder
a fifteen page cd/disc crushing
super shredder.
I emptied a drawer of old bills
fed the crisscross steel jaws
with late payments
and a side of overdues
and a dish of slips
marked paid with check numbers,
proof of my existence,
I fed that grinding machine
a list of capital expenditures,
credit cards, car insurance,
utility bills, how much water
I used,
how many times I flushed,
how often I bought socks
and underwear and sneakers.
I was liberated from my debt-ridden past
with the simple passage of paper,
memories chewed one hundred times
and swallowed,
so why not I figured
why not these bills
the ones I haven’t payed yet
the ones due a month from now
(out of sight, out of register)
and if that didn’t work
then I would shred the late notices
and the collections and the revocations
and the suit from the bank,
who might come to bulldoze my house,
and even though the shredder warns
about getting your tie caught
I’d stuff him in anyway
squeeze him through the credit card slot,
the one with the extra tough teeth,
and I’d shred the cops that came looking
for the bank guy,
cut right through their badges
and their handcuffs,
remember it’s a super shredder,
chews squad cars and FBI microphones
and uniforms and combat boots
and members of the national guard
who come looking for chewed up cops,
who come looking for talking bank heads,
it even shreds tanks and planes
and rocket propelled missiles,
if they end up wanting my money that bad,
and when I’m finished with my credit history
and any traces of my future debt
I might slip in a few personals
maybe shred some mistakes I’ve made
some laws I’ve broken
old lies I told myself
myths I had created
perhaps even shred a big idea I had once
that got going all wrong,
and when I was finished with that,
maybe I’d step into the shredder myself
let those hungry teeth chew my socks
then my toes
then the bone and the marrow
let them make me into biodegradable pieces
small red-white bits of me
that could be scattered
around the fields of the world,
like Johnny Appleseed
pulled me from his pouch,
let the wind plant me
firmly in the ground.

Also, read a fiction piece by Kevin, "Home for the Holidays," at Apple Valley Review.


Maureen said…
I love it when poets take an everyday object and turn it into a piece like this. Wonderful!

Popular Posts