That’s Enough

This is the 100th post for “In Time: Poems against the present administration“. That’s rather despairing. How I hoped it would all be over in a few months.

But here I sit, and–

Brat was confirmed.

And they who confirmed him slept well.

A woman calmly, straightforwardly, courageously told us what happened and was tossed aside with all the other women living a lifetime with trauma caused by those who rage and rape and grab and grovel and deny and demand and cry and creep.

Brat CanHeEverGnaw will take his smug seat. And Ginsburg will look him in the eye and know. She’ll know all right.

I get to be Julie’s husband. I have learned of her being physically and verbally abused when she was a restaurant server, when she worked in the corporate world, when she met with so-called Christians, when she as a young gift worked at the “Tenth Tee” at a golf course, when she handed out ski equipment. She’s not an exception. Is there any way I can prevent it? I can only be outraged, understand, try to comfort, change the focus to a British mystery on PBS.

That’s Enough

At times like these, we should
sit down, maybe pet our dogs,
or listen to the way even Bach
left out notes. We should have
a sandwich, something light,
thick tomato slices, lettuce,
slather on the mayonnaise.
(I wonder how fish let their
impulses settle in their cells.)
Sit down. Just sit, there,
on that end of the couch. Let
your arm drape over the side.
Imagine the wind has come
through the window, has turned
itself into a garden monk who is
opening his sack, flicking his
bamboo fan in front of your face.
Let every word in the world
become a vireo. Let them
overrun the yard. We’ll count
back into yesterday, the widower
knocking at the back door.

–Jack Ridl

First published in Pebble Lake Review

Subsequently published in Broken Symmetry (Wayne State University Press)

On April 1 (perfect!)  my new book, St. Peter and the Goldfinch, will be released by Wayne State University Press. Yes, preordering is up at that link, and Julie says stay tuned for news of a PARTY!

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Visit Reader’s World in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

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Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

18 thoughts on “That’s Enough

  1. Thank you so very much for this poem. And your preface is just as eloquent as your poem! Ginsburg will know!

    Sent from my iPad


  2. How DO you do it my friend and poet. Nail his name…and then give us hope in the midst of despair, or at least a way to go looking for it, feeling it…seeing the hope that is always there.

    And talking to someone just yesterday who said – “What we need it men who stand beside us, call their maile friends to account.” And you do – you do. The deepest thanks for that….


    • Ahhhh my dear Colette. Thanks be to thee. Always.
      Bill Moyers once asked Jerry Stern how in the midst of
      all that’s so awful in his poems can there also be
      kittens and toys. “Because they’re there!”

    • Thank you, Carol, for telling me this. There is no other way to know
      unless told–and it matters. It sustains.
      Here’s to vireos in your every day!

  3. What Colette said–and this: I believe we all know, even those women who for some unknowable reason defend the male white wealth of it all.

    • It’s that unknowable reason that has me sadly baffled.
      It means a lot to me that you are out there when I
      sit down each week. I sure never thought it would
      be 100 times. I thought there were maybe enough
      spines in government that we would be served.

  4. Jack, you are just amazing. I love everything you write, as you know, and even your beautiful move-of-gentility here “I get to be Julie’s husband” – you make us feel we still live in a world where respect has a home. Thank goodness for your poems, your postings, your SELF! From longtime fan club president forever! xoxox naomi

    • Ohhhhh my. I am speechless along the lake shore.
      Please know how much this means to me, sustains
      the ole scribbler.
      Whenever someone asks if I know of Naomi Shihab Nye, I
      always answer, “Know Naomi?!?! She’s my sister!” I do.
      When I first got to teach poetry writing, I asked you
      what’s something important about teaching it. You said,
      “Say yes. A Lot!” I took that into every class, one on
      one session, conference workshop. It has been the center
      of my being a teacher. My gratitude spans the stars.
      Ms. President, I love you.

  5. Jack, your poem is wonderful! Thank you!

    It arrives here at a time when German politics is more like a chicken coop than anything else. A chicken coop controlled by the industry (Dieselgate, brown coal mining) and scared shitless by some rightwing idiots who think the 3rd Reich comes back. It won’t.

    Your poems are, everybody here knows that, the best medicine against the insanity of the world. There is not a day I don’t look into one of your books.

    Now I will go down and pet the dog!

    Love, care and humble gratitude


    • I have been sooooo concerned, worried for you and your family. All of you
      deserve to live without this horror. Your lives are so lovely and loving
      in all ways: toward one another, with what you do, with the natural and
      artful world in which you dwell.

      With abiding care,

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