(sing loudly and resolutely in public)
I, applicant to fisticuffs
pledge that I’ll lay down my grudges,
give up all pugilist projects,
and send my animus packing.
I will study ire no more,
I will give up on masculine fear,
I will give away my soccer tickets,
I will finally visit my mother’s grave,
I will feed my cat the better brand,
I will send apologies out to ex lovers,
I will lie in the streetlight
from the window beside my cot,
read John Clare, and
sing the Muse, the patient one,
She that never deserted me,
that believed in me all those years,
through all my foolish illusions
that I was ever more than
the poet she meant me to be.
Who had faith in me
that I would someday
find my way.
Rayfield A. Waller. Detroit, Michigan, United States. Waller is a poet, cultural critic, labor activist, and political journalist who is a professor of literature, history, and the social sciences at Wayne State University and Wayne County Community College in the postindustrial city of Detroit, Michigan.