Poem of the Day: “Social Skills Training” by Solmaz Sharif


Solmaz Sharif’s poems show an extremely agile and adept blending of the personal and the political such that they cannot be pulled apart. Because they cannot be pulled apart. Her first book, Look, published by Graywolf, is one of this year’s most exciting new collections: it bleeds language for what it’s done to us and what we’ve done to it, to each other.



Social Skills Training

Studies suggest How may I help you officer? is the single most disarming thing to say and not What’s the problem? Studies suggest it’s best the help reply My pleasure and not No problem. Studies suggest it’s best not to mention problem in front of power even to say there is none. Gloria Steinem says women lose power as they age and yet the loudest voice in my head is my mother. Studies show the mother we have in mind isn’t the mother that exists. Mine says: What the fuck are you crying for? Studies show the baby monkey will pick the fake monkey with fake fur over the furless wire monkey with milk, without contest. Studies show to negate something is to think it anyway. I’m not sad. I’m not sad. Studies recommend regular expressions of gratitude and internal check-ins. Enough, the wire mother says. History is a kind of study. History says we forgave the executioner. Before we mopped the blood we asked: Lord Judge, have I executed well? Studies suggest yes. What the fuck are you crying for, officer? the wire mother teaches me to say, while studies suggest Solmaz, have you thanked your executioner today?

–Solmaz Sharif
(from BuzzFeed)


Photo credit: Arash Saedinia

Kyle Williams is a student at Brooklyn College, studying creative writing and literature. You can find more from him on Tumblr at kaywhyelleee.tumblr.com, but don't feel like you have to. More from this author →