You can probably guess where this little poem came from. Choose a part of your body you don’t find, um, very attractive. Write a rhapsody to it. Ha!
Oh my little bony friends
Oh my calloused misshapen ones
Oh my little tippy toes
Stretching, stretching, stretching up to
The forbidden jar of change
The cupboard with the peanut butter and fluff
The booze on the top shelf of the corner cabinet
How I’ve jumped and danced and twirled on you
How I’ve jammed you into the sexiest shoes imaginable
How I’ve blistered you
Again and again
Still you balanced me
Still you carried me up mountains
Down to the beach
Into the water
Ahhh, our favorite place
Where I’ve soaked you
Dug you in warm sand
Oh my deditos
Oh my dita dei piedi
This story poem is inspired by one of the stunning women I have met at the Lane Murray Unit while volunteering for Truth Be Told. She went into prison at fifteen. She was released thirty years later. Her name is withheld for privacy.
I went for a jury trial
I thought I had peers
I thought someone would understand.
Afterwards, my lawyer said, You didn’t
Show emotion. You looked like you didn’t
Regret killing that kid.
Of course I didn’t
Cry. My father said, If you cry,
I’ll hit you harder.
He hit the tears and whimpering and trembling lip
Right out of me.
My father didn’t get introduced into evidence.
Just a gun and a bunch of witnesses
Who said when I got mad, I was scary.
I shot bullets of glare at them.
I was fifteen and I got thirty years
I didn’t cry.
I put those peers in my hate pile
My lawyer too.
I went behind the fence.
I didn’t cry in there either.
Not when the god squad said Jesus loved me
Not when I got put in segregation for telling a guard off
Not when I was hungry or cold or dying of thirst
Hate slows my blood
Inside my white uniform
I am a glacier.
At night when I close my eyes
When I can finally shut out the endless lights
When the bodies of all the women
In the acres of beds around me have stilled
I can hear a shh-shh-shh in my ear
Not outside. Inside.
At first I thought it was my terrified mother
But it isn’t
It is my life
Spring arrived this week in Texas with every tree unfurling its leaves and wild flowers bursting open.
The Green Church
We go early.
First come the bright faces
Orange, yellow, blue, purple
On long wild stems.
They catch our breeze
As we walk in and
Nod a bit.
So do we.
Light filters through panes of
bright green glass
Buttressed above and around us.
Birdsong notes swell
As we find our way through aisles of dirt and
Empty rock pews awaiting
Today’s poem comes from a prompt: What do you carry in your backpack everywhere? Pretty immediately, I thought of something Bret Anthony Johnston said at a Writers League conference: “To write our stories, we’re all using the same twenty six letters.”
I love the sound
the HEY—all caps of them
I love the miscommunication
the deep kiss of them
I love the oh-oh-oh ecstasy
the goo and gush
and tender hard of them
I love the ones
with x’s and y’s
I love their computation
the plus, plus, plus of drafting
and the minus, minus, minus of polishing.
I love the red hot glare
the eyes in the i of them.
I love delectable bits too
the whipped cream
even the lactose intolerance
and okay, the smell of them
I gotta love the pee-yoo
the gassy fart
the sulpher-stinging stink
of the evil noxious ones
I love how they drip
and somehow emerge out of one pudgy crayon.
twenty six letters
that’s all I got.
Welcome to a month of poems. Welcome to Poetry Month. Welcome. This year I am going to share my own poetry. Gulp. Such audacity. I grew believing that poets are gods and goddesses. I dare to enter the temple.
April 1. I am not the best at playing pranks. But spilling love onto the page? Oh yes.
The Space of Love
What is it?
Does it begin empty?
Is it crowded with hopes and desires and fantasies?
Or does it empty as one appears and
Comes slowly into focus for another?
Is it a place where the edges of two
humans become so sharp
so crystal sharp
they are electric to the touch.
What else is in this so-called space of love?
Or simply the salty smell of warm skin?
And what about the light?
Is it lit by the sunrise?
Are there candles burning or have they been
Extinguished moments ago
so the smell of wax and smoke lingers after services.
Maybe that what it is: A church where we pray
to be known
to be taken to ecstasy
to find redemption from loneliness
Maybe it is a drawing.
A simple line drawing
With a vanishing point
Where two people meet and become
Larger than they were