National Poetry Month April 19, 2020
Anxiety and Television News
My lungs hurt. I’m not breathing.
So, here I sit, alone on a narrow bed,
making hand puppets appear and disappear
between the lamplight and the wall.
Stretching both hands wide open,
I cross both palms, one over the other,
waving each finger in, then out,
again and again
the shadow bird
dips and dives in dizzying circles,
flies across the room. Suddenly and without permission
a panther lurks inside your calloused skin.
All we know of hope surges in the air.
My knuckles lock in battle;
the panther swallows the sparrow whole.
And now I know, don’t I?
how a shadow sounds, half-singing, half-wail.
“Anxiety and Television News,” (with audio recording), Antiphon Poetry Magazine, 2019
1. What inspired you to write this poem?
As the title suggests, I have been watching way too much TV news so much so that I am
“stress cooking” as I listen to various news shows.
2. What do you like about this poem?
The shadow in this poems is both a real shadow puppet as well as a metaphor for the “shadow self.” I like that the shadow moves, changes
and struggles to transform.
3. What would you change about this poem?
I worked a long time on this poem and it has many variations. One revision ends with the “panther” line and begins with what is currently the last two lines.
So I still don’t know which arrangement is the best one but I stopped with this one when Antiphone took it for publication.
4. Where, when, and how often do you write?
I write at home in my office in the early mornings. I try to do some kind of work every day.
5. What poetry books are you reading right now?
Deborah Landau, Soft Targets