Selected Poem, Yvonne Campbell

ANTI-INFESTO

No one came, no one answered
We didn’t give a damn
We hollered all the way down the street
Hollering like banshees
Eyes covered
Arms high
It was serious
It was deadly serious
It was slightly off key but no one gave a damn
We had broken it
But there was no one left to see
We saw the brilliance of the sky before it was gone
But we didn’t know it wouldn’t come back
We kissed the jays
We saluted the stars
We ran from the dogs
We blessed the ground and we didn’t get up
No one came, no one answered
We didn’t give a damn
The night was over
The dawn didn’t come
It was the same as it was before
We didn’t dare move, we didn’t dare pee
We sat up all day and dreamed
It was over before it began
We didn’t give a damn
About that either

Copyright © Yvonne Campbell

ABOUT THE POEM

“Anti-Infesto” was written in protest of the first hundred days of Trump’s presidency, and was performed as part of a show by poets and visual artists held in San Francisco in 2017. However the poem is universal in its rebellion, with Trump not mentioned by name.

The poem has a distinctly defiant tone, evoking public and vocal demonstration with its insistence through repetition (the protestors holler, don’t give a damn and are serious, deadly serious). There is also a sense of playful comedy; the hollering is “slightly off key” and there are practical issues in not being able to move from the protest. Civil disobedience, whereby the protestors “blessed the ground and we didn’t get up”, takes a form of Zen stoicism with the world reflecting the refusal to move.

The varying line length adds a musical, rhythmic quality to the poem, and assists a leap into poetic ecstasy when three longer lines are followed by the shorter “We kissed the jays/We saluted the stars/We ran from the dogs”.

The poem was first printed as a limited edition silkscreen broadsheet.

Donald Trump failed to be re-elected in 2020. He lives in Florida, and his hobbies include golf and conspiracy theories.

ABOUT THE POET

Named by her father after B-movie screen goddess Yvonne DeCarlo, Yvonne Campbell is the product of 1960s activism and feminism – everything from the antiwar movement to Womyn Only folk festivals. She is a third-generation Californian and mother, the daughter of two Scottish parents. Technically retired from work as a grade school teacher, a pregnant stock exchange worker, and an ESL teacher, she’s been writing all her life but only started publishing recently. She writes every day and is currently completing her first novel, HandyFam.

 

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