Poet files #8

Why are we alive? How did we get here? I am but a channel of the Muse…

Okay, so it’s old. It’s very old. but I couldn’t resist revisiting the famous poetry of Donald Rumsfeld. George W Bush’s Secretary of Defense was the real deal, too: a bona fide politician poet, in the Roman style – and so unselfconscious that he didn’t even know he was a poet: it needed the visionary Hart Seely at Slate to work it out and let the world know about his “jazzy, impromptu riffs.”

The thing is, there are a couple I actually quite like. Srsly. Here’s one of them:

Glass Box
You know, it’s the old glass box at the—
At the gas station,
Where you’re using those little things
Trying to pick up the prize,
And you can’t find it.

And it’s all these arms are going down in there,
And so you keep dropping it
And picking it up again and moving it,

Some of you are probably too young to remember those—
Those glass boxes,


But they used to have them
At all the gas stations
When I was a kid.

—Dec. 6, 2001, Department of Defense news briefing

It’s just a shame it all had to get so messy, eh.

We constantly hear in the poetry world that no one likes poetry, that poetry is ‘dead’. Poppycock. Poetry is in fact everywhere: wherever you go, if you scratch the surface you find a poet. Poet Files is an exclusive series in which Baroque in Hackney scrutinises the unlikely, and finds the secret poetry lurking there. Look for it every Saturday morning.

(If you came from the Guardian via Poetry Files #10, click here to get back to the cops.)

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