Friday, September 9, 2011

I Wish I'd Written This

Political/Socially Conscious poems can be difficult.  Mr. Lux makes it look easy in this amazing piece.

By Thomas Lux 

hate the people of this village 
and would nail our hats
to our heads for refusing in their presence to remove them
or staple our hands to our foreheads   
for refusing to salute them
if we did not hurt them first: mail them packages of rats,
mix their flour at night with broken glass.
We do this, they do that.
They peel the larynx from one of our brothers’ throats.
We devein one of their sisters.
The quicksand pits they built were good.
Our amputation teams were better.
We trained some birds to steal their wheat.
They sent to us exploding ambassadors of peace.
They do this, we do that.
We canceled our sheep imports.   
They no longer bought our blankets.   
We mocked their greatest poet   
and when that had no effect   
we parodied the way they dance
which did cause pain, so they, in turn, said our God
was leprous, hairless.
We do this, they do that.
Ten thousand (10,000) years, ten thousand
(10,000) brutal, beautiful years.

“The People of the Other Village” from New and Selected Poems: 1975-1995.

Click on the title to go to's posting of The People of the Other Village.  Click on the poet's name to learn more about Thomas Lux.


  1. Heart-wrenching. Revenge always destroys societies.

  2. brilliantly done.
    i am both awed by the originality of the crafting, and moved by the content and message.

    wish i'd written this X10.

  3. This is brilliant. Shows how hatred is so woven into the fabric of some cultures, it's not even questioned.

  4. Wonderful--a darkly-funny scathing critique. Not a fan of the parenthesized numbers, though I understand the concept behind doing that. Does anyone else think he looks like Ben Franklin?

  5. Thomas Lux hit on an ever-true human condition. Thank you for highlighting another one new to me.

  6. Eesh. It *is* very good. And very disturbing.

  7. My daughter asked me, "why the face?" I explained about this poem. She said, "stop reading it then." But I couldn't!


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