Reasons to Survive November

November like a train wreck -
as if a locomotive made of cold
had hurtled out of Canada
and crashed into a million trees,
flaming the leaves, setting the woods on fire.

The sky is a thick, cold gauze -
but there's a soup special at the Waffle House downtown,
and the Jack Parsons show is up at the museum,
full of luminous red barns.

- Or maybe I'll visit beautiful Donna,
the kickboxing queen from Santa Fe,
and roll around in her foldout bed.

I know there are some people out there
who think I am supposed to end up
in a room by myself

with a gun and a bottle full of hate,
a locked door and my slack mouth open
like a disconnected phone.

But I hate those people back
from the core of my donkey soul
and the hatred makes me strong
and my survival is their failure,

and my happiness would kill them
so I shove joy like a knife
into my own heart over and over

and I force myself toward pleasure,
and I love this November life
where I run like a train
deeper and deeper
into the land of my enemies.

by Tony Hoagland

Other poems of HOAGLAND (35)

Comments (3)

I have loved this poem for many years. Thank you for writing it.
Does anybody know if this poem is in the public domain? Do I need permission from anyone to print it at the end of a monthly electronic newsletter to 382 members of a poetry society, which afterwards will be linked on the website of that group? We don't want to infringe on any copyright which might apply to it. Thanks!
This poem has helped me over and over to shove joy into my heart like a knife. Both my parents died from suicide and I live with bipolar disorder. These words capture why I want to go on living when it's hard. Thank you, Tony Hoagland.