Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016

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Oh, Let It Be an Arms Race

in Asia/World by

         We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.
— 45*

Let the sky glow dark
and prowl with
         fury, liquefy,
or open its
    mouth      to      scream,
and the air run off
to safer planets.

O! Let arms race
    to lift each other
just slightly up now,
    support the back
to open the chest,
to chase the air
    itself out of the sky.

Laced arms and arched trunks, we could be our own defiant fence,
a shelter for someone softer, a watershed of arms
encircling anyone left thirsty, on the wrong end of the Old World,

    its fear
    its metal and trembling law.

Let us be a race
to gaze longest into each other’s eyes,
regard the dust of long-dead suns,
blasted and never-known planets,
swirling and waving in the tides of our blood anyway,
a bit of the great ocean spilling, maybe,
over a lid and onto a cheek —

     so difficult is it for mortals to look to the back of time and
say Yes.

O! Let us race to translate adoration
     with our arms until we cry the widest
to every future
               we must live into now.

     Even that one where
     (you know the one)
     a tiny star returns us
     to being stars.
               Let us live into
               whatever may come              singing.

If we must race to a flashing end,
let the boiling air
             slam our ghosts
onto the shattering     walls behind us

like graffiti sprayed by the Angel of History

— all the world churning to rubble
in her wing’s sky-wide wake —

of billions of crime-scene outlines
of our last being, arms braced,
      holding each other
up,            ready,             and forward

even into this, yes.

And the future race, yes, of more intelligent, yes, and gentle creatures, yes,
will see our ghosted shadows, yes, and tell stories about never giving in
and never, yes oh yes, letting fall.



M. F. Simone Roberts is the Poetry & Social Justice Fellow for Split This Rock where she co-curates and manages The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database and Blog This Rock. Roberts is an independent scholar of poetics and feminist phenomenology, a poet, editor, and activist. She is co-editor of the anthology Iris Murdoch and the Moral Imagination: Essays and author of the critical monograph A Poetics of Being-Two: Irigaray’s Ethics and Post-Symbolist Poetics. Her poems are coming soon to a journal near you. She tweets and ‘grams irregularly at @pomored.

Editorial art by Elle Aviv Newton.


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