Jake Romm


O enemy, please
Would you loosen your grip
On our throats so that we might choke
Out one final curse?

O enemy, floating as you are
Above the flood of your making,
Warmed as you are by the fires
Of your making.

O enemy, you see
Our despair blooming
Like a wound, our veins
Opening in reverse

O enemy, coward,
Don’t you know that
Love and loss are just
The fertilizer for life?

Oozing with black, your favorite’s words
Etched in grooves on hardening plastic–
O enemy, one day you will be
The medium and the audience of rage.

O enemy, your heart, your blood.
Your blood is not our blood
Your heart is not our heart,
Your mighty rivers of plasma

Where doors are shut
And windows are shut
Where behind shut doors
More doors are shut. O enemy,

O enemy, your life will end
In bloodless rooms, in anterooms
Of gold, O enemy, our opposite,
Perhaps we will never die

While you hoard death
Like a luxury, O enemy,
Your great banks of marble, your great
Vaults of marble stuffed full of peace.

Our bodies shudders with pleasure
At the thought of a gun /
Our fingers go slack
At the touch of steel.
O enemy, you’ve taken the best
Of us and yet it is no source
Of pride that one day
You will take us too.

O enemy, listen please.
Can you hear the soft
Sinews of our trigger-fingers
Twitching in repose?

And call it hope, O enemy,
You call it hope in order to name it,
To bring it under your heading,
To write it in your ledger.

O enemy, coward, you
Bury your lilyheads
In the tar-sands and
Plug your ears

O enemy, O country,
I have no country,
My country is no country, and so
My countrymen are everywhere.

Boast a different tint, your odor
Saccharine rises from 
Behind gates and walls
And homes from rooms

You’ve shut your doors.
Open your doors
So we may come in and feast
On this century instead of meat.

O enemy, our opposite,
Perhaps we are condemned
To fetid life listening
To the retching of the earth

O enemy, we write our provocations
Because we cannot swing a sword
Because it’s not our necks
On the block, not yet, because

O comrades, O countrymen,
I’m sorry that a poem is not a gun /
A poem is a failure
To fulfill the promise of poetry.

Jake Romm’s writing and photography have appeared in Aesthetica Magazine [Creative Writing Prize Shortlist (Poetry)], Inkstick Media, The New Inquiry, Hyperallergic, Protean Magazine, MAP6, Yogurt Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, Midnight Sun, Reading The Pictures, and elsewhere. He can be found on twitter at @jake_romm.

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