Monday, May 15, 2017

The night before the inauguration, a poem by Kristine Esser Slentz

The night before the inauguration
by Kristine Esser Slentz

on ladies’ night we drank White Russians
at the local draft house
passing on the English and Irish pub

choosing to sit at the tall table
in the middle of the room
surrounded by TVs and its media

we take sips of our iced over drinks
between bites of deep fried food
we thank the black man that’s serving us

we discuss the origins of our
European surnames with giggles
ultimately reverting the conversation

back to our full time day jobs
complaining about the hours and
its offered healthcare coverage

maybe we’ll just show up late tomorrow
a shifty look from a manager
is worth this next liquid delight

at the end of our rich meal
we hand our VISAs to our server and
with a bow and a gesture of gratitude

he leaves us and we leave the
customary tipping percentage
then with elbows locked we walk

home to our high rises
openly kissing each other on the cheek
and a solid embrace of arms

we part only to meet our husbands
inside the historic renovation
asleep



Kristine Esser Slentz is originally from northwest Indiana and the Chicagoland area, accent and all. She is a Purdue University alum who studied English literature and creative writing while working at the independent student newspaper, The Exponent. After college Kristine has written pieces in publications such as the HuffPost, Pattern, and Nuvo Indy’s Alternative Voice. Currently, Kristine is the Assistant Editor at Unfold and has published poetry in Sweater Weather Magazine and The Unprecedented Review.

3 comments:

George Fish said...

What is the purpose of this chatty, but content-empty, "poem" which is so much like the famouls line in Macbeth: "A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing"? As a "message," it would be equally appropriate for the title to be "The night before Tuesday" (or Wednesday, or Thursday, or even saturday, Sunday, for that matter. I just find it vapid, empty, w/ no emotional resonance.

Kristine Slentz said...

Thank you for your feedback, George! It's nice to see when my work gets a strong response.

To answer a bit of your question, this poem speaks to privilege and the current administration. Each stanza addresses a topic such as Russian involvement, intense media coverage, health insurance, immigration, and LGBTQ+ issues. And it shows how some don't want or have to worry about such things.

If you'd like to discuss it more please feel free to reach out to me! I'm always willing to examine work from another viewpoint.

George Fish said...

Ms. Stenz, your poem is far too oblique to make your point of "speak[ing] to privilege and the current administration;" your references are far too indirect, and your points are so massively obscured by this they're unrecognizable. Try writing in more direct English! State the point clearly, transarently, accessibly--I know, all these are big "no-nos" with the literary critics, for whom accessibility far too much panders to the unwashied masses. That's why I like the Beat poets, modernist poems such as Eliot's "The Hollow Men." Direct and undeniable.