Poets are Fighters (#1)


I used to write a lot more plays, poetry and prose than I have over the past few years. The current political climate has me reaching for my bookshelf for inspiration, reassurance, validation. To know I’m not alone.

I want to share work I love. I want to write some new work. I want people to share work they love, and even pieces they’re working on …. I would love a comments section alive with the roughest drafts of poetic ideas, an artistic expression of the anxiety so many of us are currently feeling…

Our time here is short, and as they say, no one is getting out alive. I don’t mean that in a glum way, I mean it in a “please say what you have to say now” kind of way. I mean it in a “your words matter” kind of way. I mean it in a way that is about fighting, resisting, staying true to our core beliefs. I look forward to the art that will be created in the coming years.

My core beliefs do not line up with the current Commander in Chief’s administration. (If yours do, please move along — there are plenty of other places for you to go…)

Poets are Fighters. In other countries, poets are elected leaders.

Playwrights hold up a mirror to our world — and they have since the ancient Greeks.

Painters amaze me — from seated portraits that reflect the times, to the most modern of canvasses, they can showcase or shatter our view of reality.

Photography grabs one fragile, fleeing moment of life.

Sculpture, mixed media, conceptual art, video installations … I don’t know where to start — in that I mean, they encompass so much.

Obviously, I’m not an expert. I’m a tourist here, too.

I do know that I think art is an important reflection of society. I do know that how a society values its artist matters.

I have deep concerns about the direction our country is taking.

I do know that I have something to say about it. I hope you do, too, my artistic, talented, brilliant, verbose, eloquent friends ….

I do know that in the meantime, I am doing all I can to #resist.

So here’s one to start:


(January 24, 1991)

By Denise Duhamel
copyright 1996, “Girl Soldier” Published by Garden Street Press

Mister Rogers says to tell your American young
it’s OK to be sad. Present them a globe
rather than a flat map to show-and-tell
how far away the Middle East really is. Stress
that the TV Saudi weather report
doesn’t mean the country is within driving distance. Stress
that their U.S. president assures them all life is precious,
an Iraqi child’s equal to that of an American soldier.
Tell your children this, whether or not 
you yourself believe him. Tell children that parents,
be they civilian or soldier, love them regardless
of what soil they’re on. Consider letting children know
what the war is really like,
but if your daughter has Nintendo, do not pour blood
instead of milk on her Cheerios. If your son
is in a dangerous gang, let him explain
war to you instead. Encourage all elementary schoolers
to take their chemistry sets to the sandbox.
If you teach art, explain current events
with paper dolls. A strand of red construction paper men:
George Bush, Dick Cheney, Sadaam Hussein, et cetera.
Have students crumble up one doll an and name him
Noriega. They may throw him in a Dixie cup 
that represents a jail. Then, you may ask questions
that lead students to notice the resemblance
of one paper man to the next. Have each of the children
pick a doll who represents their favorite.
Instruct them to cut that man up into the teeniest pieces
their safety paper scissors will permit.
Members of the class may begin to get restless, to sprinke
each other with crimson bits. Allow this:
confetti, blood shed, red snow, bombs.