Poem of the Week | December 28, 2020

This week’s Poem of the Week is “Agenda” by Daniel Ruiz!

Daniel Ruiz was born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. He holds an MFA in Poetry from the Michener Center for Writers and is a recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to Chile. His poems appear in POETRY, New Ohio Review, Meridian, Southern Indiana Review, The Journal, and elsewhere.



All that’s left is to be happy.
We’ve tried letting closing doors
crunch our fingers, reaching
for a bite of white bread; seen
every episode of this season’s
war on a cheap television set;
sat at bus-stops mid-flood,
hoping. We have fought back
but forgotten, or tried to forget
the tide of bones the sand sits on
as high tide eats the shore.
You’ve got to stare at a mountain
for centuries to notice it move
an inch. If the moon crumbled,
we’d be the pinball that broke the glass.
But, now, the only thing is to be happy.
We have tried everything else.


Author’s Note

“Agenda” is a sad poem about happiness, a meditation on the conundrum it is to try and feel joy during the most complex and difficult times. Too often we mythologize happiness towards simplicity, like a shrugging off of the negative, as if to remove it from our lives would catapult us directly into bliss. For me, some of this thinking comes from reading Frank O’Hara: “I am the least difficult of men. All I want is boundless love.” Still, some of it comes from my interest in history: How does one struggling generation shape the world for the next? How do we live in the in-between?