This month’s poem seemed like a perfect choice for the ilk that reads the “Free Verse” column and the ilk that reads “St. Louis Public Radio.”
You and Your Ilk
I have thought much upon
who might be my ilk,
and that I am ilk myself if I have ilk.
Is one of my ilk, or me, the barber
who cuts the hair of the blind?
And the man crushed by cruelties
for which we can't imagine sorrow,
who would be his ilk?
And whose ilk was it
standing around, hands in pockets, May 1933,
when 2,242 tons of books were burned?
Not mine. So: what makes my ilkness my
ilkness? No answers, none forthcoming.
To be one of the ilks, that's all
I hoped for; to say hello to the mailman,
nod to my neighbors, to watch
my children climb the stairs of a big yellow bus
which takes them to a place
where they learn to read
and write and eat their lunches
from puzzle trays—all around them, amid
the clatter and din,
amid bananas, bread, and milk.
all around them: them and their ilk.
Thomas Lux has published 12 books of poems, including Split Horizon, for which he received the Kingsley Tufts Award. A former Guggenheim fellow and a recipient of three NEA grants, he holds the Bourne Chair in Poetry at the Georgia Institute of Technology and is director of the McEver Visiting Writers Program. This poem is from Child Made of Sand (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012).
Jazzy Danziger and Thomas Lux
What: River Styx series
When: 7:30 p.m. March 17
Where: Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Ave.
Other "Free Verse" poets: Gary Fincke, Katy Didden, Lee Upton, Annie Finch, Robert Wrigley,James Arthur, Janice N. Harrington, William Trowbridge, Francesca Bell, Joshua Mehigan, Jill Alexander Essbaum, Drucilla Wall, Michael Meyerhofer, Travis Mossotti,Allison Joseph, Stacy Lynn Brown, Adrian Matejka, David Clewell, Catherine Rankovic,Andy Cox, Rodney Jones, Sara Burge, Melody Gee, Christopher Todd Anderson, Andrew Hudgins, Richard Cecil.