Reasons to Survive November

I love posting Tony Hoagland's poem "Reasons to Survive November" on the first day of November. But I don't feel the intensity behind it that I usually do. The kids and I had a great Halloween night. The Red Sox are World Series Champions. And, it will be 70 degrees today--a Friday. I don't have too much to complain about this November.

(Listen to the audio.)

Reasons to Survive November

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.

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


Tressa said…
Thanks for turning me on to a new poet (I've requested his book from the library)!
Tressa said…
I finished the book and enjoyed it very, very much. I don't find a lot of poets that I enjoy reading (most I respect for their technical work but they don't "speak" to me personally). Thank you for posting about him!

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