Split This Rock Poem of the Week: E. Ethelbert Miller

Leading up to Saturday’s celebration…Happy Birthday Ethelbert!

Austerity

(for Temo)

We will all lose our jobs
if not today then tomorrow.

A writer calls me asking about
how to get published. Writers are having
a difficult time. I start to explain
the journey we are on, the poet’s path.
The writer interrupts me and says -

Cut the metaphysical bullshit! I want
a Mercedes Benz.

What do you want?

Today I returned my poems to my lover.
I filed for unemployment.
My heart stopped.

– E. Ethelbert Miller

Used by permission.

Miller was a featured poet at the 2008 Split This Rock Poetry Festival and appeared on the panels “Reclamation, Celebration, Renewal, and Resistance: Black Poets Writing on the Natural World” and “What Makes Effective Political Poetry? Editors’ Perspectives” at Split This Rock 2010.

E. Ethelbert Miller is the author of ten books of poems, two memoirs (most recently The 5th Inning ) and editor of four anthologies. He is Board Chair of the Institute for Policy Studies and the Director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University. He is also the editor of Poet Lore magazine.

Miller was a featured poet at the 2008 Split This Rock Poetry Festival and appeared on the panels “Reclamation, Celebration, Renewal, and Resistance: Black Poets Writing on the Natural World” and “What Makes Effective Political Poetry? Editors’ Perspectives” at Split This Rock 2010.