January 27, 2007

Post-Coital Depression



after the parties

and after the Seders

a few scant hours before the POWs come home


(and home is here, this is their home, and this is my home,
far from my friends and family and far from their friends
and family and the things that any of us would call home)


Now, on a quiet Saturday, I ponder art for art’s sake

and art for society’s sake

and art which by its nature could never last

because it is too specific

too focused in its condemnations

and not at all metaphorical


Today I ponder the role of an artist

at the close of a war

and the dawn of an empire

And what it means

to believe in something


in a time of blind faith

in blind and stupid leaders


Today I am an artist and a businessman


so I look over my projects


what is due, what is due me, what will be due soon

what must be achieved today so that

other artists will still consider me important


so they will come to my rallies

and come to my readings

and thank me for my politics

and thank me for my energy


Today at home

I think of the best way to relieve the burden

of living, writing, and voting in the country

destined to conquer the world


Today I think of stacks of burning bodies


dictatorships established in the name of democracy


and the motherless sons who will come back to America

and do everything they can to bring it down


and what does that mean to anyone,




the POWs come home

tortured beaten terrorized

and I will celebrate

with my city and with my country

and I know

that this is the last day we can call ourselves

a Republic of Laws



I fear for myself

I fear for my son

I fear for the Arabs

I fear for the Israelis

I fear for the Persians

I fear for the Americans

and I fear for every artist

who makes art for art’s sake

who won’t speak out

at the end of our world


—Jonathan Penton

“Post-Coital Depression” was previously published in the anthology, BANNED (Meta4, 2004)


Posted by dwaber at January 27, 2007 05:42 PM