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The Library of Congress > Poetry & Literature > Poet Laureate Projects > Poetry for the Mind's Joy > Winning Poem: this is not a poem
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This poem was submitted for the "Poetry for the Mind's Joy" project and is reproduced here with permission from the author. All rights reserved. Poetry for the Mind's Joy is Poet Laureate Kay Ryan's project that includes a community college poetry contest administered by the Community College Humanities Association and a lively videoconference.

this is not a poem.

if it were, we would listen
to the beat rock
and see elves dance in bright
yellow tube socks.

and shaq would do
the windmill into the time
tested vacuum
of forever.

if this were a poem
it would be able to go back in time
to see itself in the future and
write itself presently in the past.

if this were a poem
the wavering ocean could pause
partially to paint a picture
of the pilgrim and potato bug.

do not be mistaken,
this is not a poem.

if this were a poem
it would play leap frog
with pandas and pluto could
be a planet again.

if this were a poem
it would make a political statement
in arabic and we would send
our bombs of peace to destroy it

if this were a poem
it would stare you down
into the eye of the fish
and deal you an ace of clubs

Chabot College, Hayward, CA
Faculty Contact: Tiffany Higgins/Ben Hollander