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poem: No Apology: A Poemifesto

from our poet of the month: Carmen Giménez Smith

Heal
No Apology

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"but I want to recommend that we stop apologizing. / Today I counted and I said I’m sorry approximately 22 times."

NO APOLOGY: A POEMIFESTO

Isn’t there a line by Yusef Komunyakaa, “I apologize for the eyes in my head.” Maybe what I am trying to say is that I apologize for the sight in my eyes. Susan Briante

I would love to make a proposal, and it is out of love,
not patronizing love but true revolutionary love, and it won’t
upset the orbit tomorrow. So here’s where I’d like
to begin, and this might be the hardest thing you’ve tried to do,
or maybe you already do it and I’m grateful for you
because you’ve inspired me. I know it’s the hardest thing
for me because I haven’t done it consistently (not at all, sorry),
but I want to recommend that we stop apologizing.
Today I counted and I said I’m sorry approximately 22 times.
I apologized for my setting my stuff down on the counter at Kroger.
I apologized for being behind someone at a copy machine.
I apologized for someone else bumping into a stranger.
I apologized for taking longer than a minute to explain an idea.
Suffice it to say I am sorry all the time.
I won’t tell you what to do because that makes me
an implicit solicitor of sorry. Personally,
when the word comes into my mouth, I’m going to shape it into
a seed to plant in another woman’s aura as love. I only ask
that we get started. This is our first step toward world domination.

Listen to Carmen Giménez Smith read "No Apology: A Poemifesto":


"I've often struggled with how much I apologize and what that models for my daughter and other women-identified bodies. In trying to be more mindful, I began to pay attention to why and how, then wrote this poem."

“No Apology: A Poemifesto,” from Be Recorder. Copyright © 2019 by Carmen Giménez Smith. Reproduced with the permission of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.

More Poetry:

Carmen Giménez Smith I Will Be My Mother's Apprentice

Deborah Anne Quibell Buoyancy

Amanda Torroni Weather Vanes & Paper Planes


Carmen Giménez Smith

Carmen Giménez Smith is the author of six books, including Milk and Filth, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry, and Bring Down the Little Birds, winner of the American Book Award. She teaches at Virginia Tech University.

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