FOUR EPISTLES (Part 3), Jeff Newberry and Justin Evans

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. 

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.
Justin Evans’ latest book is Sailing This Nameless Ship (BlazeVOX). His next book, All the Brilliant Ideas I’ve Ever Had, is forthcoming from Foothills Publishing. He lives in rural Nevada with his artist wife, Becky, and their sons, where he teaches at the local high school. Jeff Newberry, Ph.D., teaches at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia, where he lives with his graphic designer wife, Heather, and their children. His latest book is the novel, A Stairway to the Sea (Pulpwood Press). He is also author of the poetry collection, Brackish (Aldrich Press).
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About barkingsycamores 183 Articles
Barking Sycamores is a literary journal entirely edited and operated by queer neurodivergent people of color. We publish poetry, artwork, short fiction (beginning with Issue 3), creative nonfiction (beginning with Issue 8), and hybrid genre work (beginning with Issue 9) by emerging and established neurodivergent writers as well as essays on neurodiversity and literature and book reviews (beginning with Issue 10).

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