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Revolution begins with a poem


My parents moaned about how “kids these days” weren’t like them. People of my generation gripe the same way. Conservatives promote the status quo and call that rebellion. In economic life we mistake innovation (Steve Jobs) with revolution (radical feminism). We confuse graphic art and design for independent creative expression. We made our poems servants of marketing and sales. We let sport, eco-tourism, and zip-line amusement take the place of true experience. We really believed we could consume our way out of environmental disaster.

I don’t want my kids or my students to accept this world we have made. I want those kids to deface icons, demean and destroy private property, and reject lives of cheap commercialism. Write letters, I say, send them in the mail, start conversations that last years with unknown people who autograph their poems and send them to you. I implore them to design products no one will buy. I want them to walk out their front doors to live off the fat of the land.

More than anything, I plead with them to create new forms of expression, aesthetics, and understanding. New ways to define and grasp the world. They must live their poems, be their stories, and become nothing we tell them they should be.

When our heads roll, we will have completed our work.


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