Big City Speech

By W. S. Di Piero b. 1945
Use me
Abuse me
          Turn wheels of fire
          on manhole hotheads

Sing me
Sour me
          Secrete dark matter’s sheen
          on our smarting skin

Rise and shine
In puddle shallows
          under every Meryl Cheryl Caleb Syd
          somnambulists and sleepyheads

Wake us
Speak to us
          Bless what you’ve nurtured in your pits
          the rats voles roaches and all outlivers
          of your obscene ethic and politics

Crawl on us
Fall on us
          you elevations that break and vein
          down to sulfuric fiber-optic wrecks
            through drill-bit dirt to bedrock

Beat our brows
Flee our sorrows

          Sleep tight with your ultraviolets
          righteous mica and drainage seeps

                               your gorgeous color-chart container ships
                               and cab-top numbers squinting in the mist

Source: Poetry (June 2009).

 W. S. Di Piero

Biography

W.S. Di Piero was born in 1945 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and earned degrees from St. Joseph’s College and San Francisco State College. A poet, essayist, art critic, and translator, Di Piero has taught at institutions such as Northwestern University, Louisiana State University, and Stanford, where he is professor emeritus of English and on faculty in the prestigious Stegner Poetry Workshop. Elected to the American Academy of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Cities & Urban Life

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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