Editors’ note: This is third of a four-poem set submitted jointly by Justin Evans and Jeff Newberry. We opted to publish one poem on each normal publication day, over the span of a week and a half. Their bio will be included in each day’s installment. We’re also providing links back and forth to each of the poems once this series’ publication has completed.
FOUR EPISTLES (Part 2), Jeff Newberry and Justin Evans (February 7)
FOUR EPISTLES (Part 4), Jeff Newberry and Justin Evans (February 9)
Letter to Justin: Brexit The news is division—broken borders, forgotten alliances. The news is old people vs. young people. The news is conservative vs. progressive, Democrat vs. Republican, white vs. brown, earth vs. sky, fact vs. fiction. Think of the truth as A union B. I have been lost in the Venn diagram since I was a child. My friend the extremist sees Brexit as a “sign of things to come.” He claims patriotism but wants our country broken. He posts about secession of Twitter & arm chairs the evening news. He calls me a “statist” & thinks I worship at D.C.’s altar. My father confessed communism to me one night as we worked a paper route we shared. At fourteen, I was a Hollywood patriot, raised on Rambo & the A-Team. He said I don’t see why we can’t all have one big pile of money & share it. Years later, I think of him, a broken man, divided against himself— backwards-looking, pining for years gone but progressive enough to think the world a fixable place. He was an artist who never found an audience, a songwriter, a cartoonist, a creator imprisoned by Reagan’s trickle-down America. My extremist friend would have hated my father, would have called him evil. Whitman wrote “vivas for those who have failed.” I celebrate myself for all of my failures. My father and my friend and me— every atom belonging to each of us is shared. There is no schism here. We can’t vote away our connection.