Sunday, April 29, 2012

Poems for Week 3

One thing that I've learned in the process of doing the Poem-A-Day exercise is that I am horrible with the discipline of writing everyday just because I'm supposed to... but that I have and will always respond to deadlines. Week 3 is here... week 4 to follow shortly, because I feel the pressure to finish them by the 30th. Self-imposed pressure is how I usually get things done, but I don't control how the words come to me. I swear I write them almost everyday, but not nearly as often are they anything worth posting on a website.

April 15
There is life flowing
under the cracked concrete
where the grass is upending
man's footprint. This is
where I will make my
next imprint.

April 16
It is up to me to bring
meditation into this madness,
to keep the peace I seek
between my fingertips,
beneath the skin of belly,
inside the cavern
that contains you,
my teacher.

The roles are reversed
and I will soon become
a student of your academy,
a disciple of your divine order.
I am humbled already by
all that you will teach me
on the first day of class.

The more I know, the more
I realize how deep
learning can really go,
and how I have yet
to scratch any surfaces.

April 17
The sun on my skin
in a crowded park in
the south Bronx.
This is my afternoon,
and where I can take
a breath and see the
beauty of ball hitting glove,
where I see you pushing
yourselves physically,
but even more importantly,
bridging gaps between islands
and learning to love one another,
faults and all.

April 18
you inspire me to see art
wherever I go,
and to make art
wherever I am.
i love your fierce
determination to right
wrongs in creative
avenues of brick
you mortar'd yourself.
i am constantly in
awe of you, PJ.

April 19
dear eli:
all that i wish for you
on the day you celebrate
your grand entrance,
is that there are items
of hilariously wrong
sizes all around you,
that love rings in your ears,
and that music fills you
& overflows.

April 20
Yes, this is disorganized
Yes, this is unfair
Yes, the deck is stacked against you,
Yes, I really care.
You are asking all of the
right questions, and I am
confident that some of you
will join me on this path,
in this fight for justice
through everyday lessons.

April 21
One month and we will
formally thread our fingers
into an eternal knot.
There is no one else
with whom I'd rather
be intertwined.

April 22
Earth mama
moon goddess
dark banshee,
will you forsake us,
who have trashed
your frame in
our own image?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Poems for Week 2

Here are my National Poetry Month poems for week 2 -- a little belated as I was on vacation in Detroit and incredibly busy. It is good to feel welcomed at home, then fly home and feel like I have multiple places where I am accepted and loved for who and how I am. I am truly blessed.

April 8
It is warm enough
to have the heat hustle
you awake, but the wind
is a swindler; this is
the time that we all
hopefully underdress...
when we are careless
in leaving the jacket at home
because we are looking
for photosynthesis.
We are budding and
forming our foliage, too.
This year, I will wear
every color I can get
myself into and be the
brightest bird in any nest.

April 9
In high school, James
used to paint at the
laundromat. The unique
machine-controlled swirls
of color must lend themselves
to oil well, because I bought
a painting of his, bursting
with the brightness I wish
everyday could hold.
I don't know if I've ever
seen those hues replicated,
even in nature, and certainly
not in mass-produced dye lots.
I guess laundry day can be
a source of inspiration
and not a chore, after all.

April 10
Time has no boundary
and I have known you
for years longer than the
calendar would mislead
others to believe.
How do I explain to others
that our souls have been
meeting in the ocean
for centuries, that the
first time you said
my name it was in
our native tongue.
Why should anyone ever
have to explain love?

Those of us who are
blessed enough to be
in its arms should know
that words fall flat
in the face of forever,
and that the promise of
always is not nearly
long enough to love you

April 11
This place is my heart
living outside of my body.
The walls are made of
the people I hold dear,
the windows are photos
of Huron river landscapes,
of 96 and the Lodge,
of the train station's skeleton,
but the roof is my
protective force field,
sealing weather and
wounds alike.

April 12
what happens when
your dream changes
shape, becomes a dragon
breathing fire under you?
when I can recognize it
in its new form, but the
world sees only differences,
not the sameness of our stride?
when people tell me that
I have changed, that I have
transformed into a new being,
but I still see myself in
every reflective surface?
are we not allowed to grow,
to deepen our desires as
we overflow with all
we now know?

April 13
Sacrifice is a sacred secret,
but we are both burning
with the rituals we have
created, and heading headlong
into uncharted waters.
We can swim in our severed
service of old ideals, or we
can boldly brave the horizon
and remember that risk is
necessary for new rituals
to rise. Let's make this a
perfect prayer, and praise
the miracles within
and without.

April 14
your mind begins to unravel
when you unhinge yourself
from its focus. when you love
others first, you cannot
always remember the details...
but every love takes
precedence over my own
need to be loved. by giving,
i hope to open up new
avenues of reception.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Poems for Week 1

Realistically, I'm not a good entry-a-day person, but I have been writing a poem a day, so I'm committing to a weekly update of poems. Here is volume one, April 1st - 7th. Enjoy!

April 1st
I never like this day,
working in a high school.
It always reminds me of
the cruelty we contain
in our frames. I prefer
days that celebrate
the goodness of people,
not their humiliation.

April 2nd
Being a mother is something
that happens long before
you take first breath.
You are already taking shape
in my memory, as I dream
for you what you might live.
I hope that it’s better
than anything I could plan
for you. I also hope your
dreams do backflips over mine.

April 3rd
I woke up today with
the sun in my veins.
You were in a Dakar dream,
and I watched the peace
you find while resting.
I hope I can bring waking peace
of comparable caliber
to your conscious days.
I hope you know how
you have blessed me,
and how I reciprocate.
I woke this morning grateful
for love in all its forms,
but especially for yours.

April 4th
a community shares the mic
and cafeteria tables in the
run-down multi-purpose room.
faded fruit and
vegetable murals peeling on
the salmon walls do not
reflect the vibrant feeling.
tonight we spoke from
our hearts and from
the bottoms of our
souls, where we store
our morals.
justice begins by
moving our feet.

April 5
Some people warn me
about being burned,
as if the way that I love
is on accident. It doesn’t
matter how much you
take from me, possessions
are not my health - I don’t
guard them with care.
Take my earthly things,
take everything I have.
I will still open my heart
to you. In my opinion,
there isn’t any other
way to love.

April 6
you looked up at the screen
while she was measuring
the radius and ulna,
so eager to hear that first
cry, to have those lungs
take first breath. we watched
the heart beat and i grabbed
your hand, because this
is a long journey
and sometimes
i will need to hold onto you
for balance.

April 7
sometimes the quiet
says what i cannot
effectively convey:
i love your serious ways.
i miss your carefree smile.
i am your interior reflection.
i’ll be your mirror.
i’m there when you need me,
only a phone call away.
i promise i won’t screen your
motives for evidence.
my voice-mail is full.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

National Poetry Month!

I am excited for national poetry month this year, and because I seem to be writing so many essays and manifestos lately, I want to return to my original love and do the Poem-A-Day contest. I'm encouraging my students to complete this challenge for extra credit as well, and I hope a few of them take me up on it. I'm a few days behind so I'll have to catch up... but here are some National Poetry Month resources if you're interested for your own writing, or for your classroom. - Gives you ideas for every day and place to register your blog/website so others participating can read your poems. - is Writers' Digest's Poem-A-Day Challenge - celebrates National Poetry Month.

Here is my first poem -- I'll be back with a few poems a day until I catch up.

April 4th
a community shares the mic
and cafeteria tables in the
run-down multi-purpose room.
faded fruit and
vegetable murals peeling on
the salmon walls do not
reflect the vibrant feeling.
tonight we spoke from
our hearts and from
the bottoms of our
souls, where we store
our morals.
justice begins by
moving our feet.