Shirley, Reading

A poem by Robert Beveridge

Your voice, small
as if you recited to yourself
as if the bar
weren’t full of followers
who hung on your every word

in your way
you say what the men
in the room can’t

tell this room
of younger-than-you
stuffed shirts
and ineffective flower poets
what it’s like
in the middle of a Compton inferno
while Daryl Gates
and his band of dead Confederates
on trial for the assault
of various Union soldiers
look on amused

you more venerable
more wise than any two
of us put together

still tries—and succeeds—
to shock the world awake
with your soft voice

in a way
the desensitized of us
have failed to do
again and again

Robert Beveridge makes noise (check out his Bandcamp page) and writes poetry just outside Cleveland, Ohio. He went through a messy divorce with Facebook some months ago, and as a result his relationship with time is much improved. His work has made recent/will make upcoming appearances in Ghost City Press, minor literature[s], and Barking Sycamores, among others.


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