Home > Poetry > Spring Cleaning Begins with Lines from Karl Marx
Published: Thu Jul 1 2004
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
Spring Cleaning Begins with Lines from Karl Marx

Dead generations weigh
like nightmare on the living brain:

in my case, Karl, it’s dust

massing since 1832
enough gravity to form a planetoid,
the place under-the-bed-monsters sleep.

In this corner—was it Daniel Webster,
once master of Fryeburg Academy? The stone
face he exalted has fallen

despite a lift from space-age
resins and titanium bolts. Fickle, irrational
water split rectitude to pebbles.

The radio weighs in, whistling while I work—
triumphal news, familiar
blood-stirring anthems,

dialectics of dust
I can’t hack from my throat. The broom straw
thinks I’m singing,

pleased to remember its old tango
in the spirit-meadow
before the mower.

Joyce Peseroff’s fifth book of poems, Know Thyself (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2015), was named a “must-read” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. She was distinguished lecturer at University of Massachusetts, Boston, where she also directed the MFA program in its first four years. She blogs on writing and literature at joycepeseroff.com. (updated 4/2018)

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