A Practice Known as Churning

By Alli Warren Alli Warren
I went to the city some days
to learn my master's pleasure
& laid fort at the farthest place
where hedges are highest
& terror of the obvious
is a rosary of similitude

Did you see some of the nudging?
How did you feel about the nudging?

Boats by water and wagons by land
in active assistance in perpetuating
fraudulent froth & hence
with haste I've seen
their mulchy tongues
suck up every animate aim
sweeping excess into piles

the reserves and neocons
administrators and representatives

the preachers and deputies
and yahoos and spodies
In the evenings they come down
from their operational sectors
to kiss the children

what terror is in them
to keep the sugar boiling
to restrain the wanderings
as fragile and fictitious

Did you see the tent on a stick?
Did you see the architecture of gathering?

I go to the city some days
to gather what's left of scrubgrass
There in the alley we converse
Idris his love of fresh skim
Ted his disdain for women
their lack of banking
Terrence and Will their concern
for purity of pussy

power precedes them
sap-drenched
& parceled
across the land

I go to the city some days I receive a letter
Dear Comrades
don't get it twisted
never lick the hand that lashes you
use beef when you run out of oakum

Alli Warren, "A Practice Known as Churning" from Here Come the Warm Jets, City Lights Spotlight No. 10. Copyright © 2013 by Alli Warren.  Reprinted by permission of City Lights Books.

Source: Here Come the Warm Jets (City Lights Books, 2013)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Alli Warren

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Subjects Social Commentaries, Class, History & Politics

 Alli  Warren

Biography

Alli Warren was born in Los Angeles. In her poems, Warren explores themes of social, economic, and personal desire. Describing Warren’s debut collection Here Come the Warm Jets as “self-reflective, interestingly interrogative, and a lot of fun,” in a 2013 Booklist review, Mark Eleveld noted that the book “places the reader at the center of time and presents big questions without ever being declarative. Warren is ever . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Class, History & Politics

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.