Protest Music: New Poems by Alison Stone


When clever words fail, impress with silence.
Marcel Marceau found success in silence.

From Manhattan she learned dazzle. From the
ocean, cold. From the wilderness, silence.

They flirted in whispers as the poet
droned. Coupled with loud moans. Dressed in silence.

Does my mother hover, listening from
some sky bed, or do I address silence?

Fifties’ wives swallowed valium and dreams.
The 80’s – leg warmers, coke, excess, Silence

Equals Death. Upstairs, yelling turns to threats,
then bangs, thuds, a cry of distress. Silence.

Pollock’s agitated splashes depict
heart noise. Hopper’s stark scenes express silence.

The stalker thought the actress loved him back.
The date rapist read yes into silence.

Meditation brings jumpy thoughts, to-do
lists, fear. How do masters access silence?

My heaven’s earth with no violence, more pets.
Hell has more drills and musak, less silence.

Coal turns to diamond. Grapes bleed into
wine. What happens when you compress silence?

You’re guilty, Alison. You stayed lulled and
dumb as fascists gained strength. Confess silence.

Hell is Full of Country Music

isn’t something to say in a poem.
You can rub folks the wrong way with a poem.

Revise – erase off-putting phrases. Court
critics; make readers stay with the poem.

I’ve been chided for doulalawn service, and
dick. Whose rules to obey in a poem?

Lust, drugs, suicide, and obsessions are
fine. Israel’s not o.k. in a poem.

Bards used to send words to heaven. Are we
too ironic to pray in a poem?

Would you skydive? Risk frostbite? Eat brains? Put
your beliefs on display in a poem?

I’m afraid of mirror and moonlight, the
stumble into cliché in a poem.

Hang-ups are unhip. Even if it’s fake,
let libido sashay through a poem.

The self girdled, bound from taking full breaths.
Too steep a price to pay for a poem.

Don’t snuff the difficult stanzas, poet.
If you censor, you betray the poem.