An animal alphabet book by Langston Hughes
Talk the Talk: Poetry

Blackout Poem: Own Your Tomorrow


Own Your Tomorrow

Faring forced sales

spread the coronavirus.

Workers monitor

$3 billion,



short supply,

200,000 cars.




"GM Reports Quarterly Profit Of $2.8 Billion," by Neal E. Boudet, The New York Times, August 5, 2021 (poem)

Charles Schwab advertisement, The New York Times, August 5, 2021 (title)

I looked for an un-literary base text to see if it lent itself to blackout poetry, and turned to the paper's financial section. In his use of strong nouns and verbs, the journalist here actually gave me a lot to work with. We can see that under the weight of the ginormous numbers are ones who keep the machines running: the workers. The events of this summer have really made me wonder what our tomorrow will look like, and so I chose that title, even though it may read ironic. In the end, I'm happy with the way the poem captured a time period that has been TOO MUCH is so many ways.

More poetry at the Poetry Friday roundup on the blog Wondering and Wandering.


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Yes, Poetry can be found anywhere! Thank you for sharing!


This was a little challenge, and fun to work on. Thanks for stopping by, Irene.

And no matter the threat, workers keep the cars coming! I like your poem found, a comment on today's world when so many don't see the workers continuing!

They really are churning out the cars! This poem surprised me, as many blackout poems do.

Susan, Thank you for sharing your process too. I always appreciate reading how poets come up with their ideas, like your wanting to experiment with an un-literary text. Amazing how that worked for your poem.

It was interesting and smart to find a non-emotional text and find a human story there. Behind the numbers are real people.

Denise, thank you for stopping by! I like to read about people's processes, too. So often their way of making a poem is something that I want to try to.

Janice, yes, and really, hats off to the reporter! He had it all in there for the blackout poet to discover. These summer Poetry Fridays have been such a gift and have me working on fun stuff again. Thanks for reading!

Yes, the workers are holding up the whole shebang!

Here's to our workers.

Mary Lee and Jone, amen—especially with Labor Day right around the corner!

This is a creative time-capsule, lyrically capturing so much about this moment in time. Thanks for sharing!

Elisabeth, thanks for reading! What an overwhelming time, eh?

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