Friday, February 17, 2012

Poem of the Week: Minnie Bruce Pratt

Minnie Bruce Pratt

The Street of Broken Dreams

The dog lunged at me and choked on its chain

guarding a house on the street of broken dreams.

What does it take to be safe? A sun-porch window

barred shut with a wood-spooled bed frame. Fradon

lock store down the block, a giant curlicue key

advertising sleep all night, sweet dreams. A bumble-

bee in the clover fumbling to find its damp-dirt home.

No way to tell who owns my neighborhood homes

until the for-sale-by-bank signs grow overnight,

and of course there's the bank at James and Lodi

with the blue light, CHASE, that stays on 24/7.

On my street some people harrow a vacant lot,

green turned under into small rows, they harvest

weathered rocks and pile those up in the corner.

In another city, some foreclosed people got so angry

the big finance company had to hide its sign, AIG.

The people were so angry. That makes me feel more

safe, the people come out of their houses to shout:

We demand. Not rabble and rabid, not shadow, not terror,

the neighbors stand and say:The world is ours, ours,.ours.

-Minnie Bruce Pratt

From Inside the Money Machine
(Carolina Wren Press, 2011)

Used by permission.

Minnie Bruce Pratt's most recent book is Inside the Money Machine, described by one reviewer as "anti-capitalist poetics." Her previous book, The Dirt She Ate: Selected and New Poems, received a Lambda Literary Award. Her poems about her relationship to her sons as a lesbian mother, Crime Against Nature, were chosen as the Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets. A member of the National Writers Union, Pratt does anti-racist and anti-imperialist organizing with the International Action Center and its Women's Fightback Network. After 30 years of adjunct teaching, she is a part-time Professor of Writing & Rhetoric and Women's & Gender Studies at Syracuse University.

Pratt will be reading at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness, March 22-25, 2012. Join us!

Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem of the Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!

Split This Rock

1 comment:

Lee Sharkey said...

During the month of March on the Beloit Poetry Journal’s blog, the Poet’s Forum, Minnie Bruce Pratt describes her long engagement with poetry as an active force in the unfinished business of creating a just and equitable world and invites you to share your own experience of “when your poems have not just spoken, but acted, in the unfinished work of this moment in history.”