Poem 78 ± August 21, 2015

Jenna Cardinale
Current Events

The assembly guest-speaker went off-

He wasn’t asked to speak
to the other grades.
He wasn’t invited back.

A man introduced as Butch.
In acid-wash denim. In a Jheri curl.
In a very white town.

I don’t know a lot about narrative.
Those elements.
Who owns a story.
Who is telling what’s
news. Even now.

His story about drugs and sex and
something we’d heard before
because this was the 90s.

He was full of gestures.

“Had I known then.
Had I known then.
Listen, had I known.

I woulda cut the bitch off.
Man, cut this bitch off.” 

It’s a hard living, informing
the present. It’s a living.

Jenna CardinaleJenna Cardinale’s poems have appeared in Court GreenHorse Less ReviewVerse Daily6×6, and Word For/ Word, among other journal. With Christine Scanlon, she curates Readings in Color, a mostly-monthly poetry series in the Prospect Heights section of Brooklyn. She lives in Brooklyn.