Poems for Uncertain Times

If my Facebook news feed has taught me anything this past week, it’s that a lot of my friends are scared. And I don’t mean the kind of “scared” that you get going to a haunted house, the kind of scared you can wake up from or turn off or walk away from. Many of you are scared your rights will be taken away, that America will become a less safe place for you to live your lives with the people you love, and that people have been emboldened to demonstrate their hatred of you and people like you by Donald Trump’s statements. I already know of the following things that have happened:

  1. Shortly after the tape of Donald Trump saying “when you’re a star they let you do it… Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything” was released, a female friend of mine was riding the subway in New York when a man told her he’d like to “grab you by the pussy.”
  2. This past weekend, two members of the Colorado State University community, a lesbian couple, stopped at a gas station in eastern Colorado when they were verbally harassed and forced back into their vehicle by a group of angry adult individuals.
  3. A Klu Klux Klan group in North Carolina has said they are planning to host “a parade to celebrate President-elect Donald Trump’s win” on December 3rd.

These stories are ones I came by casually, unintentionally, by talking to friends in-person and reading posts on social media. I’m sure I could find dozens more by googling “gay bullying Trump election” or “Muslim won’t wear hijab after Trump.” But I won’t. This past week has been saturated with enough sadness, fear, and hatred to last all of the next president’s term. It was all I could do the Wednesday after the election to revise some poems and cry when I thought of my immigrant friends, my Muslim friends, my disabled friends, my LGBTQ friends, and the CSU student I met at the writing center this semester who was working on a paper about undocumented students in the U.S. because they themselves were undocumented, brought to the U.S. as a baby.

It is all I can do now, friends, to offer to you art as hope, as recognition that things will get worse before they get better, as a way to understand that none of us are alone. The poet community at CSU (both MFA students and professors) have put together a list of poems we recommend you read during uncertain, difficult times like these. You can find it here.

Be well. All my love to you.

One thought on “Poems for Uncertain Times

  1. Kai Arden

    A poem that has sustained me these past days of sorrow and fear is “Kindness” by Naomi Shihab Nye. The line “Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside //
    you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing” seems to speak directly to the shadow and light aspect of our uncertainty.

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