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How to Choose Sides in a Circular Argument

06 April, 2018: How to Choose Sides in a Circular Argument


by Shelley Chernin

How to Choose Sides in a Circular Argument

You will not know where you are;
therefore, you will be lost.
Cling to the street sign
at the corner of Chagrin and Avalon
while you orbit the premises. Think
of King Arthur, whose sword was forged
where he would die. You will hear
hammers pang-panging out fabrications.
Ignore their false rings.
As you revolve, seasons will change.
Bring fur and assumptions. If you forget them,
you are near Sam’s Fashion Post. No need
to feel cold or flustery. Be ready
for propositions. Guinevere accepted
Lancelot’s and Mordred’s. This,
either true or false. The subject is Guinevere,
but knights and villains are subjects, too.
Ponder the hidden predicate,
and if it is unsatisfiable, revalue
the variables. Take the No. 14 bus
to E. 14th and Prospect. It’s a short walk
to Playhouse Square. Catch the matinee.
Near its conclusion,
Guinevere will sing, “I Loved You Once
in Silence.” You will not be far
from where you were before; and therefore,
you will not know where you are.

"How to Choose Sides in a Circular Argument" by Shelley Chernin, from 2015 Hessler Street Fair Poetry Anthology. Crisis Chronicles Press, 2015. Used by permission of the author.
Shelley Chernin is a freelance writer of legal reference books, an environmental activist and a ukulele enthusiast. She is the author of The Vigil (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2012). Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Great Lakes Review, Scrivener Creative Review, Guide to Kulchur Creative Journal, Rhapsoidia, Durable Goods, Big Bridge and Oct Tongue-1. She was awarded second place in the 2011 Hessler Street Fair Poetry Contest and received honorable mentions twice in the Akron Art Museum’s New Words Poetry Contest.


Write a poem about an environmental news item: mudslides or fires in California, bomb cyclone on the East Coast, observation of black holes, sink holes in Florida, total solar eclipse or any other you choose, even one from your own neighborhood.

Being on the surface
of a living planet infers
risk, her lovely face
acned with volcanoes,
grimaced with faults, endures
riverrise mudslide avalanche -
infers a science man knows
best in aftermath and learns
by slow degrees to stanch.
We by turns may nearly
avoid where danger may
stray, or be merely
in the way.
4/6/2018 11:08:53 AM

N. K. Hasen
Sink Holes In Florida

A hole appears; sinks a house;
Sinks through until nothing left
Edges get bigger; dirt fall through
Disappear in dark deep beyond
Another hole; a tree falls through
Takes part of road nearby too
Another hole out of blue
Gobbles a car parked near a house
Florida needs a new facial soon
For terrain doesn’t stay young
It seems Florida is showing its old age
Sinks holes have sprouted out all over
4/6/2018 10:19:04 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.