Domestic Situation poem & Poetry Out Loud 2

Some people have a “graveyard” love.  I heard this phrase in my youth and it stuck with me.  It was recounted in a story I read about a couple who couldn’t get along but wouldn’t leave each other alone.  There was violence as a result.

The phrase recently came to mind when I was a judge for the Poetry Out Loud state finals in Boston a few weeks ago. The Education Department of the Huntington Theatre Company coordinates POL in MA.  (Note, I work for the Huntington as Community Membership Coordinator.)

In preparation for being a judge, I read all of the selections for this year on the Poetry Out Loud site.  I discovered a few poets about whom I didn’t know.  The following poem, Domestic Situation, struck my fancy.

Domestic Situation by Ernest Hilbert

Maybe you’ve heard about this. Maybe not.

A man came home and chucked his girlfriend’s cat

In the wood chipper. This really happened.

Dinner wasn’t ready on time. A lot

Of other little things went wrong. He spat

On her father, who came out when he learned

About it. He also broke her pinky,

Stole her checks, and got her sister pregnant.

But she stood by him, stood strong, through it all,

Because she loved him. She loved him, you see.

She actually said that, and then she went

And married him. She felt some unique call.

Don’t try to understand what another

Person means by love. Don’t even bother.

I agree with Mr. Hilbert and with a line from the movie, Lackawanna Blues, by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, “sometimes a man and woman have an understanding that nobody else understands.”  (Mr. Santiago-Hudson has also performed it as a one-man show but I haven’t seen the play.  I highly recommend the movie.)

Additional info:

Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation contest.  The MA first place winner was Courtney Stewart, Springfield Central High School (Springfield, MA). He has a commanding, poised and sensitive presence.

The POL 2016 National Finals will take place May 2-4, 2016 at the Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University, Washington, DC.

Poetry fans who can’t attend the live event can cheer on their state champions with a live, one-time only webcast of both the semifinals and the finals. Make it social by organizing a Poetry Out Loud Webcast Viewing PartyRegister at and find tips on hosting your party, promotional materials, and details on other viewing parties around the country. Follow the Poetry Out Loud National Finals on Twitter at @PoetryOutLoud and @NEAarts, #POL16. For more information on the event, webcast, or viewing parties, visit or call 202-682-5606.


If you like this post, you might also check out my posts from April 2015 which featured a number of poets.

Can I Poet with You  Ntozake Shange

Can I Poet with You Langston Hughes

Can I Poet with You Lucille Clifton

Can I Poet with You e.e. cummings & Gwendolyn Brooks

Can I Poet with You W.H. Auden

Can I Poet with You Robert Frost

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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