By Reginald Gibbons b. 1947 Reginald Gibbons
Down in the blue-green water   
       at nightfall some selving shapes   
float fluorescing, trance-dancing,   
       trembling to the rhythm of   
theodoxical marching-   
       music that they hear over   
the mere noise of the breaking   
       tide. Above, stars in certain   
places; along the shore roads,   
       cars carrying people on   
uncertain errands, sordid   
       and sacred and all the kinds   
in between. Halogen-lit,   
       a woman gets down from her   
all-wheel-drive velocipede,   
       enters through an obeying   
door a cyclopean store   
       to buy unintelligent   
fresh fish and other objects   
       whether formerly alive   
or formerly dead, she comes   
       out again, a poor man calls   
to her, selling his no-news-   
       paper; the disastrous head-   
lines smile and nod, they announce   
       the plans of steel patriots   
and undertakers, ad-men   
       and fallen vice-generals,   
doping their stolen crusades.   
       But the woman has learned, as   
I have learned, as all of us   
       must keep learning if we are   
to be good subjects, how to   
       make of a newspaper the   
mask of a locust, calmly   
       put it on, and begin once   
more to eat everything up.

Source: Poetry (December 2003).


This poem originally appeared in the December 2003 issue of Poetry magazine

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December 2003
 Reginald  Gibbons


Born and raised in Houston, Reginald Gibbons earned his BA in Spanish and Portuguese from Princeton University, and both his MA in English and creative writing and his PhD in comparative literature from Stanford University.

Gibbons is the author of more than half a dozen collections of poetry, including Sparrow: New and Selected Poems (1997), winner of the Balcones Poetry Prize, and Creatures of a Day (2008), finalist for the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Heroes & Patriotism, Eating & Drinking, Social Commentaries, Money & Economics, Activities

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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