for Carla McElhaney,
written on the equinox
in honor of REVEL
September 21, 2017


To stay at home—
that’s the easiest thing,
I’ll go ahead and confess.

Most of us have televisions.
So, most of us know what I mean.

But here we are, despite all
our nut-job days and off-
the-rail lives that, it is true,
we were tempted to let lie
with popcorn on the couch.

Yes, we are here. We have
made it. Reeds tightened.
Journals whipped out.
Ears, and hearts,

So, I want to tell you
something your televisions
don’t want you to think about:

If you are feeling hopeless
and helpless in the dark face
of a planet being swallowed
by wildfires and flashfloods,
and a wide world gone mad
with big nuclear grins
and bad haircuts,

you’ve made a stand.

You’ve answered the call
of the songs and poems
crying out in the desert
of greed and inhumanity.

You’ve picked up off the battlefield
and raised again the threadbare
flag of creation that flies
for the sake of art—art,

the one, and lonely, nation
left on the bright ember
of this smoldering earth

that has us all
at heart.

–Nathan Brown