I Saw This Day Coming

December 23, 2019

Stacy Szymaszek: I’m Stacy Szymaszek, and this is PoetryNow. In my experience of growing up with authoritarian people, going to Catholic school, my fear inhibited my learning. I had my palms hit with a ruler. I mean, it was very punitive. As a teacher, I felt like it was important for me to share with my students that I was very interested in a nonhierarchical mode. I’ve really focused on trust.


I Saw This Day Coming
for my students
I saw this day coming        class would end      and it would be night
            time to attach         bike lights               tonight I lit my way
with a cigarette                   
                    I asked if petticoat ding a ling         was a fun bar
NO it’s a line from Clairvoyant Journal             YOU GUYS WANT
TO PARTY   that’s what’s happening here         it’s the pneuma of HANNAH
                                                                             ask me if I like parties
and I’m thrown into turmoil         I like parties
that I’m not invited to    best     lack of riposte similar to when Madeline
            Gins asked me if I was a perfectionist      
                                                                            R. said she’s going to sit
                                                                            in the front row at my reading
                                                                            let’s try to control our faces 
what’s everyone going to be for Halloween
I’m going       as my eyebrows       
                                                patron saint for the perpetuum mirum              
                                                                                    I am amazed!
by the unity of my limbs   
and by those for whom     “an influx
                        like eros becomes a concrete personal threat”
                                                                          PUT IT IN THE POEM
                                                                          I WANT TO LENGTHEN YOU
                                                                          if I could morph into a deer
it would be the one on campus
with rhizomatic eyeball
and black socket
am responsible for the content and decorum         of my PERSON
O well-ordered ulcer we live in
collectively pointing to a number
                                                                           on a pain chart   
                                                                           pursing our lips      
the smell of burning leaves      tonight and their presence         in the bird bath
           reminds me of New Berlin    where 2 old people instilled a work ethic
                        by connecting neat crayons and fear of a mouthful of soap
perpetuum mirum why would anyone                         WANT          
                                                                                     to hurt me???
I was at a perfect party      
            no you cannot give edibles         to everyone     where I smoked                  
             weed outside with Joanne Kyger      in the house       Antler        
                          with beads of red wine                 in his beard
                                                                        told me I was mesmerizing
                                                                        and I glanced down from the pine
                                                                        all my moves were acts
                                                                        of thinking     having never
                                                                            been loved
                                                                            October 25, 2018

* * *

Hannah Weiner was highly inventive, and I guess what we’d call an eccentric poet. And in the 1970s, she began to compose what she called her “clairvoyant poems,” which are autobiographical. The class performed several pages from Clairvoyant Journal.


I asked if petticoat ding a ling         was a fun bar / NO it’s a line from Clairvoyant Journal             

There were a few who responded to what they experienced as absence of narrative and extreme fragmentation by saying it made them feel quote-unquote crazy. So then we were able to talk about in class how artists represent alternative states of mind. So it became a very fruitful conversation. They were a really special group. They were able to meet those feelings with genuine curiosity and openness and not fear.


Katie Klocksin: That was Stacy Szymaszek and her poem “I Saw This Day Coming.” I’m Katie Klocksin and this is PoetryNow, a production of the Poetry Foundation. For more about this series, go to

Stacy Szymaszek writes a poem in gratitude to her students. Produced by Katie Klocksin.

More Episodes from PoetryNow
Showing 1 to 20 of 193 Podcasts
  1. Monday, December 30, 2019

    I Thought a Tree Dying

  2. Monday, December 16, 2019

    Hypersensitive Emanation

  3. Monday, December 9, 2019

    There Is No Meaning Here

  4. Monday, December 2, 2019


  5. Monday, November 25, 2019

    A poem from From A Winter Notebook

  6. Monday, November 18, 2019


  7. Monday, November 11, 2019
  8. Monday, November 4, 2019

    I’m an Avid Skier

  9. Monday, October 28, 2019


  10. Monday, October 21, 2019

    The Other Side

  11. Monday, October 14, 2019


  12. Monday, October 7, 2019

    Skype Healer

  13. Monday, September 30, 2019

    As If to Misread Song

  14. Monday, September 23, 2019

    Goodbye 14

  15. Monday, September 16, 2019

    Standards-Based Assessment

  16. Monday, September 9, 2019

    Girl Soup

  17. Monday, September 2, 2019

    No People in It

  18. Monday, August 26, 2019

    poem for bruce

  19. Monday, August 19, 2019

    We Are Saying Yes, But Who Are We to Say

  20. Monday, August 12, 2019

    immediately motionless likeness

    1. 1
    2. 2
    3. 3
    4. 4
    5. 5
    6. 6
  1. Next Page