Monday, August 28, 2023

Hunger -- portrayed in poetry and numbers

      Since 2003, SPLIT THIS ROCK has been an activist poetry organization that protests war and injustice.   Besides readings and conferences, Split this Rock also connects members by emailing a POEM OF THE WEEK series.  Most often, these poems are not mathematical in nature -- but one of the recent offerings is a verbal picture that uses numbers -- "meat market" by New York multidisciplinary artist Lara Attallah.  I include a portion of this poem below.   

    meat market    by Lara Atallah

             after Lebanon, a country with one of the worst economic crises since the nineteenth century

    the price of bread has gone up again. throngs of cars
    slouch towards shuttering gas stations. the currency, a farce

    with each swing of the gavel, numbers
    soar. fifty thousand pounds by day’s end,  

    what’s another ten thousand? or a hundred thousand?
    a hundred and forty thousand pounds to the dollar?

    my mother’s aged laugh thunders about the
    price of rice. i worry myself out of an appetite.

    i want to believe in miracles, instead
    i starve gratitude with guilt.

    how much for meat today? there are
    no lambs left to sacrifice in the afterlife.

               . . .                        Atallah's complete poem is available here  

Previous postings in this blog that mention the activist poetry group SPLIT THIS ROCK may be found at this link.

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