by David M. Katz
There are so many things you do not like
But cannot change yourself. You are a mule
That will not leave its stall. Your bones ache.
You’re when and what you are. You are no fool,
But neither are you smart. You make demands,
You dictate how we talk about ourselves,
Supply material for our labels, brands,
And dirty jokes, the canned goods on our shelves.
We’ve taken you for jazz and innocence,
Things that change, although you stay the same
For all the time you’re here. You make no sense
Except to stand for our collective shame.
We each pass through you like the stagnant air,
A darkened cloud, this toxic atmosphere.
David M. Katz is the author of four books of poetry—most recently In Praise of Manhattan, preceded by Stanzas on Oz and Claims of Home, all three published by Dos Madres Press, and The Warrior in the Forest, published by House of Keys Press. Poems of his have appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, The Hudson Review, The New Criterion, PN Review (UK), The New Republic, The Hopkins Review, Shenandoah, Alabama Literary Review, The Raintown Review, The Cortland Review, and The Ekphrastic Review. He blogs frequently on his website, The David M. Katz Poetry Blog (davidmkatzpoet.com).