Saturday 30 January 2021

Three Poems by Ace Boggess


“What Will I Need to Do for My Daughter

When She First Gets Out of Prison?”


                               [question asked by Lena Mae Hanft]  


She will have stories, as America has stories,

with no one to receive them.


At times bleak, others comic,

they unravel the fabric


from a center not as hardened to time as appears.

They must be allowed to walk the yard in daylight,


shared, revealing the secret prisoner,

secret America. Who wants to hear


what outsiders, disbelieving, would call horrors?

To her: integral scenes


in the narrative of a life

like what happens in a college dorm


or among cubicles at customer-service centers.

She will say this is her America.


Listen closely to its anthem distinct from yours.

Receive it without need to sing along.




One expert says we’re entering a third wave;

another, the second—

virus all around us, virus

singing softly like a mother

about to drown her babies.


The anger I experience

watching television or walking through a supermarket

wields a rusty knife, might kill me first.

I’m in a constant state of panic—

you can’t see it, or couldn’t if you saw me, hiding in my room.


There will be an election soon

to determine how America proceeds.

I’ve voted by mail-in ballot.

If the virus gets me between now & then,

at least I know the dead will have their say.





Creepers set their ringtones loud,

bounding through the house

like hyper kids refusing to take my calls.


Their point of entry is a mystery

I’d solve, but nature picks too many locks

as with the virus. On TV today,


news the President’s son has caught it.

Not the obnoxious one or the oft-

disrespected; the young, silent boy


we forget exists because of absence

from perception—like the virus,

like crickets keeping their distance


in shrubby ampitheatres at night.

The insect hardcore band will thrum, &

I must play my instruments of percussion.


Ace Boggess is author of six books of poetry, including Escape Envy (forthcoming from Brick Road Poetry Press). His poems have appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Mid-American Review, Harvard Review, River Styx, and other journals. An ex-con, he lives in Charleston, West Virginia. 


1 comment:

  1. Dramatic and compelling poems, as always from Ace Boggess.


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