Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize
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That’s How I Spin


When tempted toward anger I think of Shakespeare—
How he makes me angry, his manner.

As if virtue could survive so many centuries.
As if knowledge could be portrayed.

Let’s discuss a one who matters,
The boulevard of lost causes behind us, betrayed.

How to conclude passion has not been spent
Beyond our reach, our pasts the lust without the grace?

An impasse most neglectful of what
We most cherish. When what we most cherish

(Ourselves) conflicts with what we most hate—
[see above]—drama ensues.

The uses of drama are many, as are
The uses for drama. When annihilation

By malevolent deity was the chief cause of death
Among children, the written word existed

Only in books. Drama then was as daily
A part of life as weeping.

Now that the glazed word has replaced the written,
Children are, in general, safe from their god.

Yet death by exercise destroys countless
Otherwise healthy citizens, as does death by implosion:

The skull, that ordinarily resilient covering,
Suddenly deflates, like a lung

Punctured by the poke of a rib,
Like an ancient jar placed, with malice, on the sun:

The jar, rather than cracking, hisses,
Or seems to hiss

As the heat divests it of all that oxygen.

By Brian Henry
Recipient of the 2006 Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize

Reprinted by permission of Salt Publishing
from American Incident by Brian Henry.
Copyright © 2002 by Brian Henry.

© 2006 Carole Weinstein. All rights reserved.