With Prayers For All Of Us by Jared Smith

The opioid crisis is but one of many horrors Jared Smith rebukes in this poem. I find that in these uncertain times, the only way to make sense of any of it is through poetry.

Photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash

Jared Smith

With Prayers For All Of Us

Some men are not formed to stoke the machines
that build the cement and steel cells we live in,
and some are born in the vales without factories,
are born with voices sent from the wings of angels,
are not able to turn their dreams to data points,
are soft and gentle in this mighty flow sweeping us
away into the wilderness we know without boundaries.

The poppies of Flanders Field have now come to this,
their pure, sad juices cut by industrial poisons,
the eyes of goddesses misplaced in sterile rooms
pushing back against the pain of too much poverty,
pushing back against the division of class, of majesty,
refurnishing dreams that will not last a lifetime,
pushing back against all where the war is always lost.

The door is open and people make their choices,
and some soldiers go out now instead of in sweatshops.
Some give in to the siren call. Some stop their ears,
tied to their ship like Ulysses’ Argonauts, gold-fleeced
and bound to the structures they have built for another.

And each man, each woman, each thought and dream
is sacred with the scent of sun breathed into flesh
caught and swirled upon this mighty sea of life,
so why and how can we assume to be the gods
that tie their hands to the mast when we are far from home
and we are hurrying there driven by the winds that bind?

Toast was a weekly email newsletter that ran from July 2018 to March 2019. All of the pieces from Toast’s run and more can be read in Solo Novo 5/6.

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