Poet Jane Hirshfield said "... the feeling I have about poem-writing (is) that it is always an exploration, of discovering something I didn't already know.  Who I am shifts from moment to moment, year to year.  What I can perceive does as well.  A new poem peers into mystery, into whatever lies just beyond the edge of knowable ground."

I bring a different poem to the writing classes each week, not only to inspire but to introduce new poets to the group members.

I Must Become a Menace to My Enemies by June Jordan

  Dedicated to the Poet Agostinho Neto, President of The People’s 
Republic of Angola: 1976
1 I will no longer lightly walk behind a one of you who fear me: Be afraid. I plan to give you reasons for your jumpy fits and facial tics I will not walk politely on the pavements anymore and this is dedicated in particular to those who hear my footsteps or the insubstantial rattling of my grocery cart then turn around see me and hurry on away from this impressive terror I must be: I plan to blossom bloody on an afternoon surrounded by my comrades singing terrible revenge in merciless accelerating rhythms But I have watched a blind man studying his face. I have set the table in the evening and sat down to eat the news. Regularly I have gone to sleep. There is no one to forgive me. The dead do not give a damn. I live like a lover who drops her dime into the phone just as the subway shakes into the station wasting her message canceling the question of her call: fulminating or forgetful but late and always after the fact that could save or condemn me I must become the action of my fate. 2 How many of my brothers and my sisters will they kill before I teach myself retaliation? Shall we pick a number? South Africa for instance: do we agree that more than ten thousand in less than a year but that less than five thousand slaughtered in more than six months will WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH ME? I must become a menace to my enemies. 3 And if I if I ever let you slide who should be extirpated from my universe who should be cauterized from earth completely (lawandorder jerkoffs of the first the terrorist degree) then let my body fail my soul in its bedeviled lecheries And if I if I ever let love go because the hatred and the whisperings become a phantom dictate I o- bey in lieu of impulse and realities (the blossoming flamingos of my wild mimosa trees) then let love freeze me out. I must become I must become a menace to my enemies. © 2017 by the June M. Jordan Literary Estate. www.junejordan.com.


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