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Posts Tagged ‘poem’

 

 

 

And though he struggles to conjugate estar

and though his adjectives precede the nouns,

he’s doing it. He’s telling me about una foto

and all its themes—and though the words

are like strange spices in his mouth—paprika

y cilantro—and though he insists he hates it,

there is a tender sinceridad in his voice, like

a tree seed, perhaps, una semilla, that has

some vague idea of its potential, but is still

so trapped in its seed-ness that it is intimidated

by trees. And whatever part of me that is todavia

una semilla recognizes itself. How frightening

to see all that we do not know, to stand

beneath it like the shade of a giant tree,

to know ourselves as small and still stand straight.

My son finishes his descripción, then smiles

at me, and in his smile, I somehow see

the roots, the greening leaves, the trunk

as it reaches up doing what trunks are made to do.

 

 

 

 

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One for the Hospital

 

 

 

like a child hiding

in plain view with her hand

over her eyes,

fear tiptoes into the room,

a bomb ticking in her pocket

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Which, they say, is impossible,

but we all know the impossible

happens. If you dreamed

that you died, then I would

slip myself into your dream,

which is also impossible,

but now we’re on a roll

of impossibilities. So while

we’re at it, let’s say that while

I am in your dream, I slip

out of the dream and into

your room, which is really,

really impossible, but

wouldn’t that be cool,

to travel through dreams

into each other’s lives?

And then, once in your room,

I would watch you sleeping

and if you tossed and whimpered,

distressed by your death,

I’d lay my hand on your head

and I’d say, shhh, it’s alright,

You’re safe. I’m here.

And you would settle deeper

into your pillow, and I would

watch over your sleep and hum

a little song about home,

and the moon would hold us,

because this is a poem

in which impossible things happen,

and its long silver arms would

be warm and tender and soft,

and I wouldn’t wake you

in case it means I have to leave

the dream and find myself

unable to tell you you’re safe,

I’m here. I’m here.

 

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And I am again a girl

riding in the front seat

on the school field trip

while the cool kids

bounce around in the back

and We Are the Champions

comes on the radio. I

can only make out the chorus,

and only bits of that,

but when they sing

“No time for losers,” I

am sure they’re speaking of me,

and I wonder what it would

be like to be a champion

of the world.

 

Forty years later, I

am, perhaps, a champion

for the world. I believe in

kindness, in blossoming

out of brokenness, in

the resilience hardwired

into our bodies, our

brains, our hearts. I

believe in the power

of a song to change

the way we see ourselves.

I believe that when Freddie

sang We, he meant all of us,

my friends, all of us

the champions, rising together,

fighting till the end.

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Every blade of grass has an angel that bends over it and whispers, “Grow, grow.”

            —The Talmud

 

Imagine them, all those angels

jostling over the field,

catching their hands

in each other’s halos,

their wings a shimmering

fuss. Imagine the rising tide

of the chorus, how

whisper turns clamor

turns turbulent roar.

Imagine the dizzying pitch

of encouragement, grow,

Grow, GROW, until bam!

a riotous tumult of green.

 

But what of the song

at the end of the season,

when angels, exhausted,

sigh rest, rest. And they press

their tired cheeks against

each other’s faces, let

their wings dangle

in lucent grace. And the field,

seeded, relaxes and goldens

and sleeps. And the angels

snuggle in sacred heaps and breathe,

and breathe, white robes

like snow, and they sleep talk

between their sonorous snores,

that’s enough, dear one, let go.

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As summer leans into the fall,

as sunflowers that lose all

their petals—though it takes

some time. As rhyme

 

that slips toward normal speech.

As evening drifting toward the night.

And when you’re really sure

you’re right, let go as snow evaporates,

 

as puddles dry, as clouds

disperse, as waves unwave,

as light rehearses shadow.

And if you’re still sold

 

you are right, then practice

quietude. Like dirt. Like

bark. Like pearl. Like grass.

Like the moon, so dark, so new.

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One Bewilderment

 

 

 

my heart a red fist,

beating, intent on self-protection

when, despite itself,

it opens, astonished, to find

it’s a peony, a sunrise, a wing

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Despite the Bad News

 

 

after Sometimes by Sheenagh Pugh

 

 

It happens, sometimes. Though rain was predicted,

the sun invites itself to your outdoor party.

And sometimes, though you were afraid

to say something difficult, you say it, and

the words turn to wine in your mouth.

And sometimes, as you run toward your dream,

you don’t trip and fall. In fact, the wind nearly

lifts you, supporting your back. Yes, it can happen,

you feel alone and a friend arrives. With a bottle of whiskey.

And another arrives with dark chocolate. And

another arrives with a poem full of water.

And another arrives with nothing but

her big, open heart. And sometimes

when you say a prayer for someone to heal,

they do. Sometimes, that someone is you.

 

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I watched it happen, the confrontation.

The one who was hurt and the one

with no inkling that harm had been done,

and my heart ached for both of them—

for all of us really—all of us fragile, all of us

witless, all of us longing to love, to be loved

for being ourselves.

 

Outside the window, the leaves

were brilliantly dying, burning auburn,

vermillion, a heart swelling show

of what it is we’ve come here to do—

to give our all and give some more,

to do it unreservedly.

 

It’s all a series of repetition, design—

the leaves, the fall, the hurt, the blame,

the confusion, the reconciliation.

It’s all a matter of pattern and letting

go, letting go of whatever we think we know

about how to give.

 

What I’m trying to say is if I have hurt you,

I’m sorry. I don’t understand my own thorns.

I think I am singing and it comes out crooked.

I think I’m supporting and it comes out cage.

There are so many mistakes in my blood,

all of them believing they’re butterflies.

 

My friend tells me the leaves in fall

are returning to their true colors—

how the necessary chlorophyll disguises

what’s really inside.

 

What I’m trying to say is look at the leaves

outside the window, see how vibrant they are?

I am trying to love like that,

every day, the colors more true.

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I was fourteen, Richard was eighteen,

and he was Romeo in the high school play.

 

He was Romeo and I was chorus, and

every song I sang, I sang for him.

 

Every song I sang, a love song.

I had never been taught any other,

 

I had never been taught to be hard,

I longed to give him everything,

 

I longed for him to want to kiss me,

to give me everything, and when

 

he kissed me, which he did, he gave

me mono. I was somehow proud,

 

was proud of getting sick because

he kissed me, as if it were a badge

 

that I was worthy of being kissed,

kissed by Richard, Richard Smith, who left me

 

shortly after, who left me crumpled, weeping

in the green cement block halls,

 

halls that rang back all my emptiness.

I didn’t know then love could end.

 

I was a girl who knew only beginnings,

a girl who trusted in happily evers,

 

a girl who wanted to be chosen. Years later

I’d learn there are many kinds of love,

 

how all of them depend on one thing.

Years later I’d learn to choose myself,

 

to show up at my own balcony,

roses and poems in hand.

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