This is for the fat girls.
This is for the little brothers.

This is for the schoolyard wimps and for the childhood bullies that tormented them. For the former prom queen and for the milk crate ballplayers. For the nighttime cereal eaters and for the retired elderly Wal-Mart store front door greeters.


Shake the dust.

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This is for the benches and the people sitting upon them.
For the bus drivers driving a million broken hymns. For the men who have to hold down three jobs simply to hold up their children for the nighttime schoolers and for the midnight bike riders trying to fly.

Shake the dust.

This is for the 2-year-olds who cannot be understood because they speak half-English and half-God. Shake the dust.
For the boys with the beautiful, beautiful sisters.

Shake the dust.


For the girls with the brothers who are going crazy.
For those gym class wallflowers, and the 12-year-olds afraid of taking public showers.
For the kid who’s always late to class because he forgets the combination to his locker.
For the girl who loves somebody else.


Shake the dust.


This is for the hard men who want love but know that it won’t come. For the ones who are forgotten. The ones the amendments do not stand up for. For the ones who are told to speak only when you are spoken to and then are never spoken to. Speak every time you stand so you do not forget yourself. Do not let one moment go by that doesn’t remind you that your heart beats thousands of times every single day and that there are enough gallons of blood to make every one of you oceans.
Do not settle for letting these waves settle and for the dust to collect in your veins.


This is for the celibate pedophile who keeps on struggling. For the poetry teachers and for the people who go on vacations alone. For the sweat that drips off of Mick Jagger’s singing lips, and for the shaking skirt on Tina Turner’s shaking hips.
For the heavens and for the hells through which Tina has lived.


This is for the tired and for the dreamers.
For the families that will never be like the Cleavers with perfectly made dinners and sons like Wally and the Beaver.
This is for the bigots, for the sexists, for the killers, for the big house jail-sentenced cats becoming redeemers, and for the springtime that somehow always seems to know to show up after every one of our winters.


This is for you.

Make sure that by the time the fisherman returns you are gone. Because just like the days I burn at both ends and every time I write, every time I open my eyes, I am cutting out parts of myself just to give them to you. So shake the dust.
And take me with you when you do. For none of this has ever been for me. All that pushes and pulls it pushes for you.

So grab this world by its clothespins, and shake it out again and again. And jump on top and take it for a spin.
And when you hop off, shake it again. For this is yours.

Make my words worth it.

Make this not just another poem that I write. Not just another poem like just another night that sits heavy above us all. Walk into it. Breath it in. Let it crash through the halls of your arms like the millions of years of millions of poets coursing like blood, pumping and pushing, making you live, shaking the dust. So when the world knocks at your front door, clutch the knob tightly and open on up. And run forward. Run forward as fast and as far as you must. Run into its widespread greeting arms with your hands outstretched before you, fingertips trembling though they may be.

– Anis Mojgani, Shake the Dust