I had just enough experience working with teenagers to know they’re merciless bullshit detectors. I also remembered how my classmates and I had treated some of our teachers—teachers who would now be my colleagues.
Today, I explain, they are to be investigative reporters; their assignment is to find how girls and women appear in this museum.
In this dark moment, the largeness
of which I’d like to deny, we settle
arguments with silence, we divide the terra-cotta
soldiers one eyeball at a time.
The public nature of the hate is critical to its Americanizing function. Shouting hate slogans, hateful slurs, is our form of communist denunciation and coerced betrayals of loved ones — only, instead of marking Party membership, by offering up traitors to a cause, capitalists, enemies of state — we signal we are part of the majority by verbalizing hate, demonization, exclusion.
With all the weight of future uncertainties — predictions of ever greater social despair, economic collapse, another world war, concerns for the end of natural resources and therefore the wildernesses that sustain all of us — Dan Gerber’s Particles: New and Selected Poems is a deeply human meditation more timely and timeless than could have ever imagined.