A poem inspired by John Carey’s “To a Cautious Poet


Put duct tape 

Over my mouth

And the mouth

of my daughter, and


We will try 

To yell through the stringed, 

Silver sticky of your

Mask. We’ve had,


However, no examples

Of how to do that 

Without accusations

Of witchcraft,


Or complaining.


She flew to Washington, 

Hopes high for retribution,

But could not find

A ride from the airport.


I will guide her still,

With the hope that I am

Not just setting her up

To crash into invisible skies. 



This is Poem #99 from the  Poem (almost) Everyday Project. Starting in mid-January 2016, I challenged myself to spend a year in which I’d wake most mornings and write a poem before my first cup of coffee. By the end of the year,  I had written 241 poems.  Here, I have published second drafts of  those pieces copied directly from my journal with minimal editing from their “vomit draft” state.

I wrote this poem alongside my students after reading John Carey’s poem “To a Cautious Poet,” which is published in Poetry Like Bread, a collection of political poems, which was edited by Martin Espada. The poem speaks of a poet who is “choked by the cord of his caution” after writing his poetry on Venetian blinds and then flashing his words on and off to the world. The prompt was “What would you write on your Venetian blinds?” or as one student put it, “What do you care about enough to die for?”


Since today is the Third Annual Women’s March, I felt it appropriate to publish this as a second poem today. #womenswave