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All posts tagged "Words of Fire"

  • Words of FireDecember 5, 2013

    Poem: Southerly Equinox

    the age of the innerview dawns and the need
    to be first is muted by a
    multitude of passings/desire honed so sharp
    the edges bleed, lips and hands
    assume a silent patience/at rest as a savage
    brilliance is reborn in this ancient ravaged griot

    who am i? what am i? are no longer important questions.
    knowing that i am is finally enough
    like discovering dessert is delicious following a disastrous
    meal, a sweetness that reawakens
    the palate, or finding that one’s chalice is unexpectedly
    filled with elixir of euphoria

    and i stumble happily into the cornucopia, arms
    outstretched, upturned, drunk
    my heart athrum, bones full samba. the night
    blesses me with his constellations
    baptizes me with his deathless autumnal chill
    and i invade the moody indigo

    full-throated and singing

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  • Culture & MediaNovember 29, 2013

    Ballad for Jimmy Damour

    Bursting out of ourselves,
    rush of coat and elbow,
    we rode over, over
    Jimmy Damour, standing guard in the dawn —
    the door yanked from its socket.
    We rode as though on horseback
    in the direction of our wanting.

    They say you lay in a sleep of bronze
    on the white linoleum,
    while we shopped for TVs.
    You a stone in the current of us.
    Like water, indifferent, serpentine,
    we carved the earth,
    with our urgent business.

    They say you shielded a pregnant woman
    with your body,
    that beneath the weight of us
    she heard the grinding of her own teeth.

    I’d like to say that because of you, Jimmy,
    we make do with less.
    It would suit my miserly heart
    to cut, extract, leave out, whittle
    down to the essential quart
    of milk and sack of beans
    to sit hearthside with this set of hands,

     » Read more about: Ballad for Jimmy Damour  »

  • Culture & MediaNovember 22, 2013

    Poem: Borofels

    (for Sonia Nieto)

    In Brooklyn, the mice were crazy
    with courage, bony gray pickpockets
    snatching crumbs from plates
    at the table. The roaches
    panicked in spirals on the floor,
    or weaved down walls
    for the sanctuary of cracked paint.
    No heat, so the oven door drooped open
    like an immigrant’s surprise.

    Sonia’s mother was mute in English,
    mouth chapped and coughing
    without words to yell for heat.
    But the neighbors spoke of Borofels:
    Tell Borofels, and mice shrivel in traps,
    roaches kick in poisoned heaps,
    steam pipes bang so loud
    that windows open in winter.

    Sonia and her mother sailed
    on a subway train rocking like a ship
    desperate for light, then rose
    into an untranslated territory
    of Brooklyn.  So Sonia translated:
    “Where is Borofels?”
    No one knew;

     » Read more about: Poem: Borofels  »

  • Culture & MediaNovember 8, 2013

    Poem: Shame

    I have been practicing the first two
    lines of a poem by Chung Ling:

    “I make fast my white barge
    to the bank of the brimming stream.”

    One of my students wrote it out for me
    phonetically.  I want to say these lines

    to the old Chines guys I swim
    with every afternoon at the Y.

    I think they would enjoy it.  I think
    they would like me.  Today there is

    no one in the pool but us, and we
    are all hanging onto the sides.

    I point to the placid water and recite.
    They are stunned, and then Mr. Chu

    starts to weep.  His friends help him
    out.  They disappear through the blue

    door.  Later there is a note on my locker,
    written on a paper towel,

     » Read more about: Poem: Shame  »