A Strategem

By Michael Anania b. 1939 Michael Anania

(after Ehrich Weiss)


Geography matters.
It is the plan,
the arrangement of things
that confuses our enemies,
the difference between what
they expect and what they get;
as simple as bobbing for apples
becomes difficult, deception is
an achievement in ordering the obvious.


Let us make a song
for our confusion:
Call it “Red Skies over Gary”
or “Red Skies in the Sunset”
or “Red Skies and the Open Hearth.”

    Red Skies over Gary,   
    you are my sunset,   
    my only home.

Let us make ourselves invisible,
not make songs, or even   
disappear suddenly from   
the sidewalks of Calumet.


Cobalt and carborundum   
are refinements of the art.

So it’s true, you held   
the razor in your teeth,   
or was it pure magic,   
a miracle of place?
One makes for workability,   
the other for hardness,   
and chromium bright,   
the stainless achievement.


I came from Calumet to Gary,   
and it was early evening;
south of the mills, poppy fields   
toxic red above the car lots,   
have a Coke on Texaco
’til the mercury arcs devour us   
and it is purple night.

Michael Anania, “A Stratagem” from Selected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by Michael Anania. Used by permission of Asphodel Press/Acorn Alliance.

Source: Selected Poems (1994)

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Poet Michael Anania b. 1939

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern


Subjects Landscapes & Pastorals, Social Commentaries, Nature

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Michael  Anania


In the afterword to his first book, the 1969 New Poetry Anthology, Michael Anania wrote, "There is little evidence that modernism is dead or even dying. The tradition of Pound, Eliot, Williams, Stevens and their contemporaries is very much alive." Anania's importance as a poet lies in how he preserves and develops this modernist tradition in American poetry. A deep commitment to modernism and the tradition of experimental, often . . .

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SUBJECT Landscapes & Pastorals, Social Commentaries, Nature

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern


Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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