‘Ism Writers’ by Susan Millar DuMars

Ism Writers

The world is full of ism writers
sobbing, always sobbing
for many distant victims –
but if they found ‘you’ bobbing
in the river, clearly drowning
they’d explain in patient tones
how your privilege, not the current,
is what’s dragging you down.
They’d talk until the bubbles stopped
pen an elegy then
for now that you’re a soggy corpse
it feels safe to call you friend
while sobbing, always sobbing.
That’s what ism writers do.
Every word they write’s correct
but not one word is true.

© Susan Millar DuMars


Susan Millar DuMars has published four poetry collections with Salmon Poetry, the most recent of which, Bone Fire, appeared in April, 2016. She also published a book of short stories, Lights in the Distance, with Doire Press in 2010. Her work has appeared in publications in the US and Europe and in several anthologies, including The Best of Irish Poetry 2010. She has read from her work in the US, Europe and Australia. Born in Philadelphia, Susan lives in Galway, Ireland, where she and her husband Kevin Higgins have coordinated the Over the Edge readings series since 2003. She is the editor of the 2013 anthology Over the Edge: The First Ten Years.

Madame Matisse is shown her portrait, 1913
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