“When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” –JFK


I was going to use a longer quote from our former president, John F. Kennedy, “When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence,” but the title box only holds so much. This second quote promises more potential.

So on the run tonight, passing through a bookstore, I grabbed a book of Surrealist Love Poems edited by Mary Ann Caws without really looking through it. I’m in a hurry to soak the dwindling in; you see, the summer is dissipating into a little puddle of fewer sunlit hours and lower temperatures already worthy of September.

My Baltimore mother told me that the gypsy moths are out far too early by maybe two months and that she’s already seen acorns. She says this is a sign of an early winter. I think it’s also an effect of global warming, along with the numerous other signs we keep pretending is just flukish weather. Care to challenge Al Gore, anyone?

Okay, I’ll run with the sentiment of Kennedy’s potential and provide two poems from the book now, including one by the inimitable Frida Kahlo, homosapien extraordinaire:

Now he comes

Now he comes, my hand, my red vision, larger. more
yours. martyr of glass. The great unreason. Columns and
valleys. the fingers of the wind. bleeding children. the
micron mica. I do not know what my joking dream thinks.
The ink, the spot. the form. the colour. I am a bird. I am
everything, without more confusion. All the bells, the
rules. The lands. the great grove, the greatest tenderness.
the immense tide. garbage. bathtub. letters of cardboard.
dice, fingers duets weak hope of making construction. the
cloths. the kings. so stupid. my nails. the thread and the
hair. the playful nerve I’m going now with myself. An
absent minute. You’ve been stolen from me and I’m
leaving crying. He is a waverer.

Frida Kahlo


I rested in the arms of my arms

I rested in the arms of my arms
I no longer slept
It was night in the summer, winter in the day
An eternal shivering of thoughts
Fear love Fear love
Close the window open the window
You’ll see you’ll see
The hummingbird motionless as a star

Dora Maar

One Response to ““When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” –JFK”

  1. Didi Says:
    September 6th, 2006 at 8:38 am eyou know many artists were also poets – it would be interesting if someone were to publish a book of poetry by these along with their famous paintings.

Education Poetry

AMY KING View All →

Amy King is the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Award. Her latest collection, The Missing Museum, is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She co-edited with Heidi Lynn Staples the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She also co-edits the anthology series, Bettering American Poetry, and is a professor of creative writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.

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