"Social Security," by Terence Winch

  • No one is safe. The streets are unsafe.
  • Even in the safety zones, it’s not safe.
  • Even safe sex is not safe.
  • Even things you lock in a safe
  • are not safe. Never deposit anything
  • in a safety deposit box, because it
  • won’t be safe there. Nobody is safe
  • at home during baseball games anymore.
  • At night I go around in the dark
  • locking everything, returning
  • a few minutes later
  • to make sure I locked
  • everything. It’s not safe here.
  • It’s not safe and they know it.
  • People get hurt using safety pins.
  • It was not always this way.
  • Long ago, everyone felt safe. Aristotle
  • never felt danger. Herodotus felt danger
  • only when Xerxes was around. Young women
  • were afraid of winged dragons, but felt
  • relaxed otherwise. Timotheus, however,
  • was terrified of storms until he played
  • one on the flute. After that, everyone
  • was more afraid of him than of the violent
  • west wind, which was fine with Timotheus.
  • Euclid, full of music himself, believed only
  • that there was safety in numbers.

Terence Winch, originally from New York City, where he was closely associated with the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church in lower Manhattan, now lives in the Washington, DC, area. The son of Irish immigrants, he is both a musician and writer. In addition to an American Book Award and the Columbia Book Award, Winch has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry and grants from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, the Maryland State Arts Council, and the Fund for Poetry. He is also the winner of a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Writing. Winch has published five books of poems and two collections of short fiction. His most recent collection of poetry is
Falling Out of Bed in a Room with No Floor, from Hanging Loose Press. His most recent music project is a CD that collects his best-known Irish compositions on one disc: When New York Was Irish: Songs & Tunes by Terence Winch. “Social Security” is from his collection The Drift of Things, published by The Figures Press, and is reprinted by permission.

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well i guess it's safe to say this is an interesting poem

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