Reasons to Survive November Poem by Tony Hoagland

Reasons to Survive November

Rating: 4.8

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.

Lyn Paul 14 June 2021

Incredible poem. Written with great strength.

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Jon Saint Germain 10 October 2019

I have loved this poem for many years. Thank you for writing it.

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Cal Nordt 29 October 2018

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!

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Susan Page 12 August 2018

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.

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Tony Hoagland

Tony Hoagland

North Carolina / United States
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