How to Become an Artist by Anthony DiPietro

a river in chaos. brave existence. sudden
roads. kidneys in chaos. sleep, sleep. a mother—
she is everyone’s mother. when you wake, you remember.

a bridge crumbles of its own will. then
it is no bridge. ask the tumbling river, what
shall I say? sleep. place at the ocean floor

the name you give yourself but never
speak. reserve the right to grasp for it
tomorrow. a child dies at noon. you must sit

with faith. you must sit with a genuine loss
of faith. this is not something you can fake.
become a child with no understanding. death

comes to your door in triumph & soon.
rivers continue to carve. if you let
your enemies freeze then you too must be consumed

with uncertainty. fill your goblet again & drink.
you will sit in a hollow valley. feel your strong
lungs open up. you will feel mud

fill those lungs. if so, tell only lies.
give me something to make me sleep. give me
something to burn the barn, destroy pink flesh.



Anthony DiPietro is a Rhode Island native who worked for 12 years in community-based organizations that addressed issues such as violence, abuse, and income inequality. In 2016, he moved to New York to join Stony Brook University as a candidate for a creative writing MFA and now teaches undergraduate courses. A graduate of Brown University with honors in creative writing, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, Anomaly, Assaracus, The Good Men Project, Helen, Rogue Agent, The Southampton Review, Talking River, and The Woman Inc. His website is

Image: Junction of the Yukon and Koyukuk Rivers, Alaska, August, 1941. USGS. 

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