my son at the end of a love story

he weeps
solitary, dark
without knowing what
others will think
when he comes into his body.

he watches
the lovers embrace,
separate and then imagine what life
would have been like
had they not been torn apart.

I tell him
be a man focus on strength
continue dropping those heavy tears.
the women who will know you
will thirst at the thought of your love.

it rains again and again in my mind
at the thought of his tears
moistening the ground
of our dry, neglected Earth.

here he is trying to play the song from the end of this film.
can you guess the movie?

Poetry for Everyone!

In approximately a week, I will be wrapping up a unit on poetry I have been teaching to some of the important little people in my work life. The last month, exploring poetry as an educator, has been one of the most enjoyable times in my career. Having reawakened my love for poetry over the last few years and now living that love in the classroom has been surreal and magical. Watching young people express themselves through poetry has reaffirmed my belief that poetry is one of the most accessible and meaningful forms of expression.

Simultaneously, I saw playfulness, learning and confidence emerge…one eight year old who is so in love with potato chips, he had to make mention of them in every poem (and he made this work!)…another kind-hearted charmer who used his poems to bring a fresher, sassier side of himself to life…and a young, brilliant musician humming after each poem in an attempt to match her words to music.

There are so many places to go with poetry, so many spaces to occupy, so many people to be and become. Write on friends of all ages and share that love with everyone you know who will listen 🙂

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The Horse Saint

This is an old Turkish folktale. It is the story of a pious and humble saint of his time. The thing this saint loved most in life was his beautiful, white horse. All knew him with this horse as he rode through the towns surrounding his home. One afternoon on his travels, he was riding with his horse through the desert. He came upon a man desperately calling out from the ground for water. The saint dismounted his horse to offer the man water. All of a sudden the man mounted the horse and started away. The saint fell to the ground crying. When the man turned and noticed, he yelled towards him, “What kind of pious man are you crying over a horse?” The saint replied, “I am not crying because you have taken my horse. I am crying because when others hear this story they will not get off their horses to give a thirsty man water.”

so much we want, so much we have
so much we play, so little we love
we yearn to possess false pleasures
we climax from transitory highs, struggle with pain
but don’t know how to ask why.
ask yourself what your place in the world is meant to be
for the sake of thoughts consuming? for the sake of pleasing “me”?
one person born among millions can do so much to change the world
how hard it remains for our generation to realize the mission of their souls.

with a hand on my heart

i pledge allegiance to step forth
when asked to step down, to hold no flag
to hold this generation tight
make them accountable for apathy
(apathy=death) you see their faces everyday.

to remember the children
lost in the name of false allegiance
i pledge allegiance to anger
letting it blossom into something more than fruit
to eat beautiful.
because i know what it smells like to be spring.

one of the lucky ones, i pledge allegiance
to the human body, still attached
from birth to death. pledging for each one
i said i loved until death do us part
sweet sorrow, i lie parallel to you.
you, my country, have no right to speak
on behalf of the world.

I was inspired after reading Safia Elhillo’s masterful poem, Self-Portrait with No Flag. It comes to mind every morning lately when I need to stand for the pledge with my students from around the world. The hypocrisy is striking in relation to our current domestic and foreign policy objectives. So my loyalty is to the small ones, to the next generation. May we teach them to know their own self-worth, no matter their origin.

The Self-Absorbed Artist

looking back, I believe you liked to look at yourself on the canvas.
how much time you must have spent against the mirror admiring
the deep curves of your upper body, the shining reflections,
how light hit the contours and shadows
fell along the human places we call man.

you called your own body suitable for the brush,
to what still hangs above my head, no longer a white canvas,
the supple eggplant, deep purple, almost magenta
temples coming through reflected light.

it moves above me like a hallucination, a haunting intention,
innocent vegetable as man from shoulder to wrist.
painted next to me, wrapped around my body
the moment I realized a man cannot be everything
especially one who only knows how to paint himself.

One Drink

I came to myself
the boiling pot whistling
profane massacres
across the hall.

and I never made tea again
I watched the emptiness
of the sky
and this room the air could pass a thousand
birds through its spaces
for the many days the
living had left.

There must be empty
spaces inside the body
for a single drink that doesn’t scream—
I win
in spite of the world.

Writing and Knowing

I’m feeling inspired by the poetic guidance in The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry. Presently reading the chapter “Writing and Knowing”… hence the name of this poem.

Writing and Knowing

I know the kitchen, the confines of its smell
sometimes escaping the borders
of acceptable behavior. the waft, the clouds
the cycle sourced from my hands.
this delicate surgery has transformed into
an excellent prognosis, bubbling
but cohesive, wet without being soup
love without being complicated.
sit with your shoulders up. elbows
off the table, on the table—it doesn’t matter.
service is inconsequential, shape is a secondary thought.
we are empty stomachs and full hearts released
from responsibility.
our destiny is no longer in my hands, maybe it never was.