CONTEMPORARY FREE VERSE POETRY
In the beginning, I wanted poems
with sharp endings, closing arguments
that would finally convict the cruel.
I wanted a voice like Robeson’s when
he made the shooting, briefly, stop.
I got old and grew quiet,
carving lines to mimic shapes
of rivers, and of birds over rivers.
And the bombing and bludgeoning continued
while the soughing of wind over grass
was heard by the grass. Now I want poems
like train windows, admitting all
the mountains and clouds and towns,
the story of a family camping by the tracks
and the tale of a girl waving from a fence.
She’ll grow up and go off to law school
and end up a judge and find the innocent innocent.
I welcome the sound of beaters
ringing a silver mixing bowl, bright
as a child’s loud song. I want poems
that readers put down to write
their own poems and songs,
novels, epics, movies–work
that takes them so far away
they never think to return.
I want poems no one
Michael Lauchlan has contributed to many publications, including New England Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The North American Review, Sugar House Review. His most recent collection is Trumbull Ave., from WSU Press (2015).