Monday, April 9, 2012

U.S. BIRTH GRAPH, 1946-1962 (revised)

behind a decommissioned half-track

on the kitchen table, the radio blaring

in the middle of a raspberry u-pick

while waiting at a railway crossing

ten minutes into a twenty-minute nap

inspired by a new and improved design

at a time of global economic certainty

with no thought given to the neighbours

despite recent gains in public awareness

beside the window, the television blaring

under the influence of Lysol Disinfectant

between a glass of wine and a box of novels

eight days before the next menstrual cycle

immediately following the six o’clock news

against all odds – and a latticework fence

where demand for reconciliation appears low

towards the advancement of colored people

below a yellowing photo of John Bell Hood

beyond what passes for stasis and change


Last week I asked a poet I know to critique my poem "U.S. Birth Graph, 1946-1964" (posted on Saturday). She had a number of comments, most of them focused on my use of personal pronouns, how they created confusion. While I am interested in confusion, I decided to rewrite the poem without these pronouns, using the same constraint as in the previous version.

Readers will note that the revised poem uses both Canadian and U.S. spellings, as well as the Canadian "railway" over the U.S. "railroad". My use of the Canadian spelling of "neighbourhood" comes from a Canadian education; my use of the U.S. spelling of "colored" is based on its referent: the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), an organization that continues to this day.

I am still not happy with this poem (particularly the last line) and will likely make further changes. If any should come to mind, please let me know.


  1. (I liked the pronouns and the mother coming up the stairs)