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

“Big City Speech”  from Nitro Nights, © 2011, reprinted by permission of the Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Source: Poetry (June 2012).


This poem originally appeared in the June 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

June 2012
 W. S. Di Piero


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, Cities & Urban Life, Class

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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