“I really think that the political responsibility of fans is to love themselves more than they love their icons.”
— Hanif Abdurraqib
Alberto Sveum is an MFA candidate in Poetry at Indiana University Bloomington, where he also serves as the Editor-In-Chief of Indiana Review. He received his B.A. in English and Philosophy from the University of Northern Iowa.
Welcome to the Poets Weave. I'm Romayne Rubinas Dorsey. Alberto, what poems have you brought for us today?
Compendium for a Room of Childhood Musings
I sit alone in my four-cornered room
starin' at candles
A musty window bears down on this room like the grill of a cement truck,
it reflects the thick flicker of a tube tv and an N64’s hum.
50 Cent and Eminem lean awkwardly in a poster, thumb-tacked to the eggshell wall,
they reflect the content of the deck of stolen CDs hidden in the top dresser drawer.
The floor of the apartment above, with maybe the same tawny carpeting as this one,
it reflects a young boy’s skull, as his father knocks him about most nights,
and back sitting in this apartment, on this twin-size bed, is another boy, about the same age,
too afraid to reflect on any of this.
Under this bed, a stash of Oreos and Pringles, to cram in fits of hunger,
it reflects an angry mother and shame.
There is one door to enter and exit this quadrilateral, dark and dented in its corner,
it reflects no light. It locks only from the outside.
Compendium for New and Returning Online Gamers
a mountain dew fueled demon
tepid in its bulwark of sleeping cards
and ports until tedium jabs
the power button and it’s wasd∞
surely the keyboard is backlit
like fourth of july
and even those adept at cable management
end up looking like webelos
caught in peripheral knots teamwork
is as scarce as vitamin d
poets are the type to lose a borrowed book
and spin lyric about it
fiber optic foes will deface the cover
and grieve you of each line word by word
but for every cabal of caustic mouthed
14 year olds there are new or returning
friends benevolent and free on the weekends
waiting in a crunchy voice channel
to celebrate headshots and curse
recurrent disconnects like the sun crushed underfoot
log in to this competitive cascade
burn the book
Last night, playing Uno
with a friend,
all I could think
of was the lone
Polaroid of my father
my mother filed away, shuffled in
with birth certificates
and social security cards.
No noted occasion, just
him in some gymnasium,
cross-legged on the floor,
contained within the snapshot,
like a Draw Four in the deck,
tiny enough to hold
in my hand. A Wild Card to toss
and shout out a meaning for.
Yes, the color is !
My color is . My father
You've been listening to the poetry of Alberto Sveum on the Poets Weave. I'm Romayne Rubinas Dorsey.