Liz’s Poetry Series: Graduation

by lizard

As I write this, there is a robust celebration going on across the alley behind our house, and I’m pretty sure at least one college-aged kid who just left the party is driving drunk. Graduation weekend is hitting full-crescendo tonight, so be safe out there Missoula.

Tomorrow, when a good percentage of tonight’s partygoers emerge from their stupors, their hangovers will be just hangovers. If I was tasked with giving a commencement speech today, I’d be tempted to use the hangover as a metaphor for the post-graduate reality of the debt-load graduates will carry into an anemic job market.

I bet regular readers of 4&20 can all agree “William Skink” would give a terrible commencement speech. I’d expand the hangover metaphor to include the post-WWII opportunity the Boomer generation wasted, trying to incite rage from Millennials over the short-sighted, greed-driven squandering of their future that occurred during the 80’s and 90’s. Not very inspiring.

Today’s graduating class is leaving the green expanse of campus and entering a world barely keeping up appearances. Nothing is assured and everything should be questioned (on a side-note, if you have any questions, or just want to drop me a message, you can now reach me at

Good commencement speeches make use of other voices. I went to my shelves tonight and found a poem from the anthology Poets Against The War, edited by Sam Hamill. This is less a collection of poems and more a collective outcry against the impending Iraq disaster, which happened despite literally millions of people taking direct action to protest the media campaign of inevitability which paved the path to war.

Before that poem, a little shameless self-promotion. I finally re-formatted my collection of poems, titled Full Size Pattern ( I’m hoping that means I’ll finally get copies to a handful of people I said I’d give copies to, but haven’t yet because I was annoyed at my choice of font size and lack of introductory framing. I’m liking the tweaks and desperately needing to get my shit together.

Enough about me. Tonight’s poem comes from Judy Platz. Enjoy!



for Mort Krahling (1944-1998)
brother Bill and poets everywhere

The mystery is
that we are still here at all—
still beating our owl wings
under curved moon;
star-nose moles digging, digging
in the dark, toward light
bones, teeth, bits of hair to identify the others—
words left behind on pages for channel markers
in the deep ocean of soul;
our temporal homes that see us invisible
with pen and hand and paper to create
artifacts, for those yet who will search.

The journey unrelenting, absolute;
but look! Seed tendrils walks beside us
in damp darkness
toward the light, always toward the light.

—Judy Platz

  1. steve kelly

    “If I was tasked with giving a commencement speech today, I’d be tempted to use the hangover as a metaphor for the post-graduate reality of the debt-load graduates will carry into an anemic job market.”

    Add to that the following: Sen. Tester, one of 11 co-sponsors, just voted to pass S-1217 — essentially eliminating GSE’s Freddie and Fannie — out of the Senate Banking Committee.

    NOT made in Montana. Try to find the actual vote in the MSM.

    No job, no mortgage, no problem — suckers.

  1. 1 160+ Poetry Links for National Poetry Month | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] Graduation […]

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