The Curse on Us All: After Richard Oyama

A friend sends me a poem about an explosion in Spanish Harlem
That took the lives of the poor, the working folk who move
About this city as if on a parallel track from the wealthy, glossy
People who text and text and bland the streets with careful
Chic and dulled wits—their drugs make all things “balanced”

This is a way to start a year in which our nation is in deep freeze
25 below and more and the President who is wealthy and glossy
Welcomes the year with a curse on us all. Sage may be required
But is not enough to make any of us less anxious, enraged as we
Move about the city tracking our ghosts or lifting our friends.

How we build joyful bones, recall the names of children
Lost to fire, to cold, to the glossy people’s real estate
War on the poor, how we do that will be our most
Amazing task, we poets as we work to reverse this curse
On us all.