Countdown to Sycamores Year One: “Poem to Change the World”

Autonomous Press is releasing three books this month, including Barking Sycamores: Year One.

Pre-orders are available now, but we’ll be blogging excerpts from the anthology to give you a “sneak peek” prior to release day. Today, we’re happy to present “Poem to Change the World” by Barbara Ruth, which was published in Issue 1.

by Barbara Ruth 

This is the poem to change the world.
This is the poem to wrench the war from us.
This is the poem to cancel our carbon footprints.
This is the poem to cleanse the Gulf of Mexico.

This is the poem to ask forgiveness from trees for all my drafts.
This is the poem to redeem myself for all the hours I play computer games 
instead of working to change the world.
This is the poem to save my soul.

This poem ends genocides
shuts down Guantanamo
satisfies hungry ghosts and lets us all sleep deep.

This poem is the key to the home I’ll live in the rest of my life.
This poem is my girlfriend’s lucky lottery ticket, 
her reward for putting me up and putting up with me.
This poem opens doors and minds through thought control.
This poem stirs your writing, cooks it into a soufflé, a Baked Alaska, a manifesto.
This poem proclaims: we are whole, just the way we are, 
our wholeness expands holy wholeness everywhere.
This poem seduces lesbians a roomful at a time.
This poem knocks your socks off.

This poem sends the illegal immigrant invaders of Turtle Island 
back to the fifteenth century.
This poem declares all sentient beings citizens of the world.
This poem guarantees safe passage.
This poem is your safe house
your safety net.
This poem is fully accessible.

This poem knows your scars, your scares,
burrows its way beneath your sin.
This poem slips beneath your braces, turns
to ointment for your open sores.
It’s a consolation,
                a constellation
                a cancellation of all your debts.
This poem gathers compound interest.

This poem dreams your original face
bears witness to all your struggles, your sorrows,
licks your tears everywhere they fall.
This is the poem for an easy life.
This is the poem you’ll remember as you lay dying – 
it will sing you through
and the last thought you’ll have:
In spite of everything, we changed the world.

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