National Poetry Month: Poème #7

Bon Friday, dear reader. Here’s a piece I wrote a few years ago after a pretty cathartic conversation with close friends. Because that’s how poetry functions for me: whereas fiction traverses the highways and byways of my imagination, poetry is every nuance and inch of the life I lead. Is that how it is for you? Let me know in the comments.

Breathless

You, with your half flesh, absent of your complement,

I would give you the exact latitude and longitude to get to me,

but I didn’t listen that day in class.

I have no mind for coordinates, I cannot bear giving directions.

Just wherever you are, traverse the highways and byways and miles

it will take to reach me, and come as soon as you can.

You will be guided by air and wheels, yes,

but also by softly uttered prayers feverishly whispered in the dead of night,

when the slow passing of minutes spent alone no longer wish to be abided.

Your arrival will not be met with waving palm fronds and outer garments spread on the road,

for I understand who my true Savior is,

but trust that you will meet a joy so acute that it will sound like the releasing of a

long-held–

tightly held–

quietly held–

breath.

National Poetry Month: Poème #6

As an author, her stories and essays have always thrilled me. But I’d like to discover her more as a poetess. Below is a powerful piece by Alice Walker. Enjoy this poetic Thursday, dear readers.

Be Nobody’s Darling
Alice Walker

Be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Take the contradictions
Of your life
And wrap around
You like a shawl,
To parry stones
To keep you warm.
Watch the people succumb
To madness
With ample cheer;
Let them look askance at you
And you askance reply.
Be an outcast;
Be pleased to walk alone
(Uncool)
Or line the crowded
River beds
With other impetuous
Fools.

Make a merry gathering
On the bank
Where thousands perished
For brave hurt words
They said.

But be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Qualified to live
Among your dead.

National Poetry Month: Poème #5

Hi, Poetry Lover. Wanted to share a classic today. I fell in love with this piece in college after more than one poetry professor introduced me to the wonder and complexity of Theodore Roethke. Please read and enjoy.

In a Dark Time
Theodore Roethke

In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood—
A lord of nature weeping to a tree.
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.
What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.
That place among the rocks—is it a cave,
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.
A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is—
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.
Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.

National Poetry Month: Poème #4

Day 4 of NPM. Happy happy. This piece was written by me. One of my personal favorites:

The Passage of Time

we’ve run out of conversation,

we’ve nothing left to say.

we cannot abide by talk of the

children, who now wrangle children

of their own, expecting us to play with and to give back, to babysit and to listen.

and what of those who bore us? how do we talk of what stabs us in our hearts, of nursing

homes and pain pills, of loss of strength and absence of memory?

we’ve run out of conversation,

we’ve nothing left to say.

we let them talk around us, about anniversaries and births, about time and trust, about how our

lengthy togetherness inspires, about leading by example.

they merely hear their own voices reverberating back to them.

not ours. we haven’t said a word.

and what would you say, if you could?

and what would i say, if i could?

crickets chirp.

the night wears on.

we’ve run out of conversation,

we’ve nothing left to say.

National Poetry Month: Poèmes #2&3

Happy NPM. Because I missed Sunday, here’s a piece for Sunday, written by me:

Learning, Gratitude
(Hindsight)

To you.
The heart should never be
so revealed, so unaware of where
the results will land.
No more waiting when the answers
are usually quite clearly there.
No matter if you were moved. Time to move on.
Thank you.

To you.
Too open, too fast, too trusting.
Too bad, too bad, too bad.
In the end, you actually missed me.
In the end, I walked away with no regrets,
warmly blanketed by the comfort
of the full circle.
Thank you.

To you. Ah, you.
There are no words–
well, there are words–
but which ones?
(Blissfully) blinded, (glaringly) sighted, (then) goodbye.
I carved you out of the clay of perfection
and quietly watched the hand of truth smash
you to pieces…

Still you.
Still thinking about it.
Still sighted, yes, but no longer
looking back in youthful anger.
Now, a sad, adult understanding of what came to be,
what became of you.
Nevertheless–regardless–in spite of–
thank you, thank you, thank you.

…And a piece for Monday, also written by me:

Yours.

I was your very first brownie–
I know that because you were
stunned and staring–
and you hated how you felt,
my chubby, bigoted love,
because you commenced with destroying me and making them laugh all the while,
when secretly and behind their backs
you spoke to me like you were whispering sweet somethings
in my brown ear,
an ear you ached to nuzzle and punch in, but you decided to just mock it instead, mock it hard, and the shocked, confused little face that came with it.
but they didn’t see you by the goalpoast,
inching closer, culling conversation,
conveniently cool and quiet when they looked, checking you, checking me.

may you have come to terms so
she may be none the wiser.

National Poetry Month: Poème #1

It’s National Poetry Month, y’all. I’ll commemorate by posting a poem a day. Some will be my own work, some classics. In any case, poetry will be had. 

Here’s the first piece:

“A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.”
               –Charles Ghigna

Fill this month with poetry, won’t you?

Blogvember #24 and #25: Thursday and Friday.

#24: It was lovely being off work on Thursday. This is what I did, rather than blog. Sorry. Well, not really.


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#25: Since it’s Black Friday, here’s a poem I wrote a few years ago, entitled, naturally, Black Friday

and so she believed the hype.
she tipped her head toward the heavens and waited for the stars to descend into her eyes, and she waited, so quietly, to hear a skip, a jump, a tiny hop within her heartbeat, and she gazed at him and waited for an infiltration of memory to imprint his every nuance and niche…
they didn’t tell you, did they, honey?
you may leave with a shiny new gadget after that doorbuster sale, my dear, but hype isn’t the heart, and the feeling of his hand in yours will never not feel like a bag of nails tapping at the soft flesh of your confused palm.
behind silly platitudes and empty love songs is nothing but air and the truth and you.
and so you believed the hype.
and you were duped, conned, swindled, sandbagged, hoodwinked, and yes, so sadly bamboozled.
but didn’t you know? 
when did love ever need a sale?

Blogvember #17: Throwback Poemday.

I wrote this a few years ago. Happy TBP.

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From Damascus to Emmaus 

I’m waiting you out.
I’ll be here in Damascus,
waiting for the scales to fall from your eyes.
You’re making it hard on yourself, honey,
determined to wear
these blinders, determined to
ignore what we and the world know:
I am the one for you, and you are the one for me.
So, go on, kick against this oxgoad,
persecute your poor heart with denial,
hold their coats and stand aside,
pretend like you don’t feel it or get it.
The light will come. 
Oh, yes.
And it will be luminous.
When it does, I’ll be waiting, ready to use my heart as your salve to open your poor eyes, 
ready to journey with you to Emmaus,
where our chests will burn with love and understanding.

“…wings of her own.”

I wrote this poem seven years ago. Bon Throwback Thursday.

 

Mrs. Birdman

 

When he finally lands,

the odds are that she’ll be waiting for him by the riverside.

He’ll tell marvelous tales

of the sweet air up there, of racing with skylarks and ravens,

that near-miss with the eagle…

She’ll tell him that Billy lost his tooth, and that Sally started walking.

He’ll smile and ask if they remember him and she’ll lie and say that

they do.

She’ll cry when he says that he has to go again,

(“I thought you’d stay longer this time”)

and he’ll placate her with promises that they both know

will fly away faster than he can, never to be seen or heard of

again.

Up, up, up, he’ll go, the Man who makes the sky that much

more unique, as they all like to say.

She’ll continue by the riverside,

waiting,

too morose and too teary-eyed

to realize what he hopes she never will,

that she’s always had

wings of her own.

Elegies.

I’m still writing poems about him. I don’t think that will ever end.

 

Elegy. 16.

Perhaps I always knew I would end up near you, my dear, departed one,
near the streets you once walked upon, near the air you once had the privilege to breathe.
Somehow that dreaded constant summer began to call out to me and I began to listen…
A siren’s call, surely, one worthy of wax shoved quickly in the ears, but your memory is far too strong, far too melodic for that Odyssean self-control, and I’m not willing to let you go.

(How is it that the silence that spoke such volumes when we stood across from one another is even louder now, now that you slumber in the ground?)

 

Elegy. 98.

I’m in the mood for you.
For your fanciful cowboy tales–
For your romantic sunset–
For that gleam of mischief in your bright eyes–
and for the sadness I saw in them, too, the kind that told me who you really were.

I’m in the mood for you.
For your arrogant understanding of me–
For your inability to understand nothing at all–
and for the sadness I wanted to take away so badly, the kind that your actions couldn’t hide.

But moods pass.
So did you.
And sadness quietly changes partners.

 

Elegy. 99.

Memory becomes my salve.
Numbing the skin, numbing the nerves,
creating a youthful version of you where smiles ruled the day and
laughter echoed through the halls of our temporary home.