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A St. Patrick's Day poem from Dan Carpenter

Happy St. Paddy’s Day
by Dan Carpenter

I remember it best as the best of excuses
for cutting class and getting drunk and kidding yourself
that you looked as good to the girls shedding their winter pelts
and inhibitions as they looked to you;
that their green tongues said go.

It came to reside, with New Year’s Eve,
in that locked upstairs room of the mind and heart
kept by the loved ones of alcoholics;
misshapen mockery of faith, flag and sex,
lost youth leering beneath a green plastic derby.

With you in my March, I open again to the phony sodden clamor,
extend my thousand Irish welcomes to the daytime drunks,
the knob-kneed parochial step dancers, the corsaged politicians,
all the flaunters of the color the singer reminds us
my ancestors wore at the risk of their shabby lives.

With you in my retreat, across the miles, as they say,
I say to them, Yes, you are, all of you, please, be Irish
for one afternoon, herded away downtown, insane and innocent
of Yeats, of hunger, of my toothless coal-miner grandparents;
of the pair of us, colorblind, deaf to your drums, free, green, locked in song.

Bio: Dan Carpenter is an Indianapolis resident, a freelance writer and a contributor to Indianapolis Business Journal, StatehouseFile.Com and other publications. He has published poems in Poetry East, Illuminations, Pearl, Xavier Review, Southern Indiana Review, Maize, Tipton Poetry Journal, Flying Island and other journals. A book of his poems, More Than I Could See, was published in 2009 by Restoration Press; and one of his poems was included in And Know This Place (Indiana Historical Society Press, 2011), the first comprehensive anthology of work by Indiana-connected poets.