This week in the PEN Poetry Series, guest editor Ben Mirov features a poem by Alli Warren, author of GRINDIN (Lew Gallery, 2012). 


Hide the Poor

As clansmen make laws

the country makes heaps

their kings and governors

proclaim franking

to be among

the inalienable rights

They burn youths

with warm wooden pipes

to leech bread from them

to flood the grazing land

to be brought to experience


The painter deemed the most

skillful is asked to depict this

without adulteration

with just one remaining ventricle

His fate is extraordinary

Wherever he ventures the clerks

give him honor

and cooked food

because they like his commodities


some beads

and little bells


and reciprocally

and how


The unimaginable

deemed inevitable


Prophecy is memory

our fate is extraordinary


especially in the mines

but not only there

I’m trying to arrange feathers?

on this ceremonial shield

this idea of coinage?

I’m trying to bring the meat

heads and steel and crafts

to the gospel of justice

I’m delighting in the bursting

of asset bubbles


Not being subjects

they have no desire

No love for moms


Can’t you hear that reeking?

don’t you see the big chain?

don’t you see the big grill?

Call that deflection

in place of action

Send a banger

crying through the streets


The poem first featured in Saginaw.

Once a week, the PEN Poetry Series publishes work by emerging and established writers from coast to coast. Subscribe to the Poetry Series mailing list and have poems delivered to your e-mail as soon as they are published (no spam, no news, just poems).