Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Angry? He'll Tell the World, and From His Front Window

This week's readwritepoem prompt asked us to write a poem based on a headline or headlines. This poem, and its first two lines, come from a NY Times online headline.

picture by Erik Bishop/New York Times

Angry? He’ll tell the world—
and from his front window
His protests circumnavigate
your windshields,
your ipods,
your cell phones

He paints signs, bright and unpixelated
His giant text messages
get right in your face,
but not in your facebook
His struggles are mightier
than your common status updates
His messages are not instant, they contain
the rage of the well-read

He does not want to friend you
or convert his logic to birdsounds
He does not want you to be his fan
He has no feed for you to follow
His mission is syntactic, semiotic
He looks for logic amidst the chaotic
He means to catch your eye
And hold it tight as you walk
or skate or drive on by

He is Paul Revere, John the Baptist,
The last town cryer,
He is not just another nut with a flyer
He aims to make the crooked straight
But knows that for most
He’s too old and too late


  1. Love the third stanza! Perfect reference to Paul Revere and John the Baptist--would never have made the connection myself.

  2. I really liked this! Such a witty and wise take on the world today. It might have been written about my father...

  3. You have a lovely weblog, some lovely writing - and I must add, a lovely smile!

  4. Great work! I love "right in your face, / but not in your facebook".

  5. Love "the rage of the well-read"

  6. Nice rhythm. And nice juxtaposition of modern technology and simple, old-fashioned protest.

  7. Hi Erin,

    Although we often think of such folks as crazy, they have a serious message to convey. I like how you have used these unusual words:
    "His mission is syntactic, semiotic
    He looks for logic amidst the chaotic"

  8. I believe it is pretty easy at times to dismiss a passionate elocution of a position as somebody being a crank. There are times such proclamations are about subjects we would prefer not to think about.

    I really like what you have done here.

  9. I didn't read the story, but having read the poem and seen the accompanying picture, I don't think I have to. A great portrait of frustration with a very real sense of urgency conveyed by the flow of the lines. I felt a bit ashamed of my tweeting afterwards.

  10. There's great rhythm here - I would love to hear it read aloud.

  11. That last stanza is spot on. I too would love to hear this read out loud. Good write.


  12. Great use of rhyme here, Erin. A well-crafted piece.

  13. very nice.....3rd stanza especially...and using "chaotic"....I used chaos in my of my favorite words...also beautiful picture of you and little one...

  14. I love the way you referenced cell phones, ipods, facebook, status updates, etc... there are so many great lines here! It's always a pleasure when you share your work. I enjoyed this poem so much!

  15. From Therese B. at RWP -- To me, this poem was about more than just the photo above. This poem is about anyone who, instead of going online, makes an old-fashioned text sign and puts it in his window. In a way, the protest in this poem is a protest against the new technologies themselves. Like briarcat, I loved the "rage of the well-read."

  16. Thank you to everyone for your comments and insights. Sorry I'm so late responding, but I really value and enjoy what you all have to say!