Rumpus Original Poems

Sunday Rumpus Poetry: Six Erasure Poems by Alison Thumel

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Give amnesty. / Which birthright / is perpetual / and whose is made? / One sentence / should be kept: / I had a body / to believe. ...more

Sunday Rumpus Poetry: Three Poems by Amy Strauss Friedman

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I thought that hearts were meant to function as uteri, / to grow linings that bleed clotty when life won’t adhere, / to stall like rusty engines in barren winters, / unprepared for the seasonal shift. ...more

The Rumpus Inaugural Poems

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Official inaugural poems are a strange beast. There have only been five of them and the one we recognize as the first, Robert Frost’s “The Gift Outright,” wasn’t composed for President Kennedy’s inauguration. Frost recited it when the sun’s glare off the snow made the poem he’d written, “Dedication,” impossible to read.

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Where were you when the world broke?

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Not in your echoing womb,
to scream at you across your fields to wake up,
not part of your denial that Earth is burning,
dehydrated, suffocating on itself—
I stood in a blue state
while you bled the red of its people—(Our people: recall how they grew up
across Holt Street, Maple Street from us, yes?)—
delusional that you were the world’s own,
unothered.

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