“Some years there exists a wanting to escape…” ~ Claudia Rankine

Some years there exists a wanting to escape—

you, floating above your certain ache—

still the ache coexists.

Call that the immanent you—

You are you even before you

grow into understanding you

are not anyone, worthless,

not worth you.

Even as your own weight insists
you are here, fighting off
the weight of nonexistence.

And still this life parts your lids, you see
you seeing your extending hand

as a falling wave—

/

I they he she we you turn
only to discover
the encounter

to be alien to this place.

Wait.

The patience is in the living. Time opens out to you.

The opening, between you and you, occupied,
zoned for an encounter,

given the histories of you and you—

And always, who is this you?

The start of you, each day,
a presence already—

Hey you—

/

Slipping down burying the you buried within. You are
everywhere and you are nowhere in the day.

The outside comes in—

Then you, hey you—

Overheard in the moonlight.

Overcome in the moonlight.

Soon you are sitting around, publicly listening, when you
hear this—what happens to you doesn’t belong to you,
only half concerns you He is speaking of the legionnaires
in Claire Denis’s film Beau Travail and you are pulled back
into the body of you receiving the nothing gaze—

The world out there insisting on this only half concerns
you. What happens to you doesn’t belong to you, only half
concerns you. It’s not yours. Not yours only.

/

And still a world begins its furious erasure—

Who do you think you are, saying I to me?

You nothing.

You nobody.

You.

A body in the world drowns in it—

Hey you—

All our fevered history won’t instill insight,
won’t turn a body conscious,
won’t make that look
in the eyes say yes, though there is nothing

to solve

even as each moment is an answer.

/

Don’t say I if it means so little,
holds the little forming no one.

You are not sick, you are injured—

you ache for the rest of life.

How to care for the injured body,

the kind of body that can’t hold
the content it is living?

And where is the safest place when that place
must be someplace other than in the body?

Even now your voice entangles this mouth
whose words are here as pulse, strumming
shut out, shut in, shut up—

You cannot say—

A body translates its you—

you there, hey you

/

even as it loses the location of its mouth.

When you lay your body in the body
entered as if skin and bone were public places,

when you lay your body in the body
entered as if you’re the ground you walk on,

you know no memory should live
in these memories

becoming the body of you.

You slow all existence down with your call
detectable only as sky. The night’s yawn
absorbs you as you lie down at the wrong angle

to the sun ready already to let go of your hand.

Wait with me
though the waiting, wait up,
might take until nothing whatsoever was done.

/

To be left, not alone, the only wish—

to call you out, to call out you.

Who shouted, you? You

shouted you, you the murmur in the air, you sometimes

sounding like you, you sometimes saying you,

go nowhere,

be no one but you first—

Nobody notices, only you’ve known,

you’re not sick, not crazy,
not angry, not sad—

It’s just this, you’re injured.

/

Everything shaded everything darkened everything
shadowed

is the stripped is the struck—

is the trace
is the aftertaste.

I they he she we you were too concluded yesterday to
know whatever was done could also be done, was also
done, was never done—

The worst injury is feeling you don’t belong so much

to you—

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“Sci-Fi” ~ Tracy K. Smith

There will be no edges, but curves.
Clean lines pointing only forward.

History, with its hard spine & dog-eared
Corners, will be replaced with nuance,

Just like the dinosaurs gave way
To mounds and mounds of ice.

Women will still be women, but
The distinction will be empty. Sex,

Having outlived every threat, will gratify
Only the mind, which is where it will exist.

For kicks, we’ll dance for ourselves
Before mirrors studded with golden bulbs.

The oldest among us will recognize that glow—
But the word sun will have been re-assigned

To a Standard Uranium-Neutralizing device
Found in households and nursing homes.

And yes, we’ll live to be much older, thanks
To popular consensus. Weightless, unhinged,

Eons from even our own moon, we’ll drift
In the haze of space, which will be, once

And for all, scrutable and safe.

“It Comes in Every Storm” ~ Olga Orozco

translated by Mary Crow

And don’t you feel also, perhaps, a stormy sorrow on the skin of time,
like a scar that opens again
there where the sky was uprooted?
And don’t you feel sometimes how that night gathers its tatters into an ominous bird,
that there’s a beating of wings against the roof
like a clash among immense spring leaves struggling
or of hands clapping to summon you to death?
And don’t you feel afterwards someone exiled is crying,
that there’s an ember of a fallen angel on the threshold,
brought suddenly like a beggar by an alien gust of wind?
And don’t you feel, like me, that a house rolling toward the abyss
runs over you with a crash of crockery shattered
by lightning,
with two empty shells embracing each other for an endless journey,
with a screech of axles suddenly fractured like love’s broken promises?
And don’t you feel then your bed sinking like the nave of a cathedral crushed by the fall of heaven,
and that a thick, heavy water runs over your face till the final judgment?

Again it’s the slime.
Again your heart thrown into the depth of the pool,
prisoner once more among the waves closing a dream.

Lie down as I do in this miserable eternity of one day.
It’s useless to howl.
From these waters the beasts of oblivion don’t drink.


Llega en cada tormenta

¿Y no sientes acaso tú también un dolor tormentoso sobre la piel del tiempo,
como de cicatriz que vuelve a abrirse allí
donde fue descuajado de raíz el cielo?
¿Y no sientes a veces que aquella noche junta sus jirones en un ave agorera,
que hay un batir de alas contra el techo,
como un entrechocar de inmensas hojas de primavera en duelo
o de palmas que llaman a morir?
¿Y no sientes después que el expulsado llora,
que es un rescoldo de ángel caído en el umbral,
aventado de pronto igual que la mendiga por una ráfaga extranjera?
¿Y no sientes conmigo que pasa sobre ti
una casa que rueda hacia el abismo con un chocar de loza trizada por el rayo,
con dos trajes vacíos que se abrazan para un viaje sin fin,
con un chirriar de ejes que se quiebran de pronto como las rotas frases del amor?
¿Y no sientes entonces que tu lecho se hunde como la nave de una catedral arrastrada por la caída de los cielos,
y que un agua viscosa corre sobre tu cara hasta el juicio final?

Es otra vez el légamo.
De nuevo el corazón arrojado en el fondo del estanque,
prisionero de nuevo entra las ondas con que se cierra su sueño.

Tiéndete como yo en esta miserable eternidad de un día.
Es inútil aullar.
De estas aguas no beben las bestias del olvido.

“Moon for Our Daughters” ~Annie Finch

Moon that is linking our daughters’
Choices, and still more beginnings,
Threaded alive with our shadows,

These are our bodies’ own voices,
Powers of each of our bodies,
Threading, unbroken, begetting

Flowers from each of our bodies.
These are our spiraling borders
Carrying on your beginnings,

Chaining through shadows to daughters,
Moving beyond our beginnings,
Moon of our daughters, and mothers.

“Viewers may think that they can process it all” ~ Stephanie Gray

but they are fooling themselves, if there’s a window open you might have a chance, if you hadn’t all gone to Holy Name, if the world didn’t change, if you only bent the laws of physics so much, if the tides weren’t so strong on the Hudson, if you didn’t have to go, if it wasn’t a dream you still believed in, if that different kind of memory didn’t take hold, if your muscle memory didn’t steady you, if you didn’t have orders you couldn’t ship, if you didn’t see what you saw, if the crawl wasn’t always hungry, if there weren’t celebrities in every sphere, if you didn’t know all the criminals in the neighborhood, if nothing ever happened here, if it wasn’t a country club, if there wasn’t magic in actuality, if you didn’t dislocate the phrase, if you didn’t grind the blue sky, if it hadn’t been a downward trajectory, if the shadow didn’t undo itself, if you all weren’t all on break, if everyone didn’t shut down, if Canada wasn’t in the escape plans, if the future wasn’t sparkling with nostalgia

“‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers” ~ Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

It Was An Accident by Naeemah

It was an accident. I didn’t mean to do it. It wasn’t even my fault. The gun was in my hand.

Saturday, May 25, 1996

Boom. Boom. Boom. Feeling the rhythm in my soul, I dance around crazily, drunk out of my mind. My red silk dress sticks to my skin as someone grabs my hips and grinds against my back. I barely even notice, just adjust my thighs to get a better fit.

“What are you doing?” he asks.

“What?” I say.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?”

I finally realize who’s talking to me, and I look up startled. Shit. I didn’t even realize he was here.

“You’re basically fucking this guy right in front of me,” he says, as he walks closer to me. Every angry step makes me more anxious.

He grabs my arm as the guy behind me yells, “Come on man! I was dancing.”

“You think I give a fuck what you’re doing with my girl!”

I love when he calls me that.

I trip several times as he drags me across the floor. Taking me to a wall, he shoves me against it and leans in towards me until I can feel his breath on my face as he speaks. Peppermint and cigarette smoke. Like always.

“You think I didn’t realize you left with your friends to come here. Don’t think you can leave. I will follow you wherever—“

“Hey! What are you doing? Get away from her!” my friend says.

He pushes her and tells her to back away, that this does not concern her.

“Yeah it does. You have no fucking right to treat her like this,” she says, as he drags me towards the door.

As we exit, I can hear my friend following us, though I can’t see her because he has my head in a tight grip. We reach his car. My friend catches up and grabs me, trying to pull me back.

I become the rope in this tug of war.

He opens the car door, and my friend attempts to pull me away, but not fast enough. He takes something out and turns around. This time he has a gun in his hand.

“Back the fuck off before I shoot her,” he says to my friend.

Eyes wide, scared completely, she still tries to help me. But I push her away, telling her that it’s okay, I’ll be fine, he won’t shoot. She doesn’t believe me and wants to stay, but I push her.

He grabs me. Sticks the gun under my chin and clicks the safety clip.

Frightened, I freeze. My friend begins to walk away, and he puts the gun down.

Loosened from his grip, I attempt to grab the gun. I catch the tip and it slides away.

My friend grabs for it and points it at him. I scream and tell her not to shoot.

She doesn’t listen.

Pop. I jump in front of him.

“No!” my friend yells.

Running to me, she crouches and tries to staunch the blood. I feel somewhat numb.

“This is all your fault!”

Pop. Without realizing it, he had gone for the gun.

Shock. The emotion on my friend’s face before she dies.

“You bitch. Look what you made me do,” he says, as he wipes his fingerprints off the gun, places it in my hand, and walks away.

BB by Naeemah

What happened? Standing over a body that’s flat out on the ground, I can’t feel anything.

Not sure what’s happening. Is it mine or someone else’s? Whose body is it? Who does it belong to? I don’t know. I try to look for help, scream, but no one is listening to me. No one sees me, no one sees the body on the ground. At my feet.

People are walking by, not even paying attention to what’s on the ground, who’s on the ground. I scream again, but no one hears me, no one is listening. I try to turn the body over, to see who it could be, but my hands go right through. What is happening? My hands go right through the body again and again and again and again.

That shirt looks familiar to me. I look down at myself and realize that I’m wearing the same clothes as the person on the ground.

We are the same. I can’t breathe. I’m not breathing.

I look around in confusion, hoping someone can help me, help us. Help. No one is there. No one is even looking at me, at us. I crouch down, trying to protect myself from the outside, as I finally see the blood leaking from underneath the body. The blood that’s pooled underneath my body. I’m dead. I’ve died. I crouch down for hours. No one looks at me, no one looks at us. Tears run down my ghostly face, as I slowly lay down on the hard cold cement next to myself. There’s no one else that will care for us, we are alone. Always alone. No one else is here. No one will ever be.

A Favorite by Carol A

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in)]

By E. E. Cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

A favorite poem of mine, always leaving me filled with warmth during the holidays.

“[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]” Copyright 1952, © 1980, 1991 by the Trustees for the E. E. Cummings Trust, from Complete Poems: 1904-1962 by E. E. Cummings, edited by George J. Firmage.

Lost and Obscured (unedited*) by Dani.Love

Sunset Fire Cloud shadows MGD©

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imagine life without love.
Without the warmth of a home.
The comfort of your friends’ support.
The security of your lover’s arm.
Where would that leave you?
What would be your motivation to continue?

Numb to ills of the world I have to break free
Freedom
Free

Dumb to think this path would come easily
That bliss would be handed to me
Gift wrapped
Presents are the lessons of the experiences we endure
Overcoming obstacles
This (Life) course is free

Life is what education ought to measure up to
Freestyle lessons plans
Of a promise land
Land
Stolen goods
Motherhood
Catching up to
Freedom
Rights 
Stolen

(Still)
I Have
 Chosen
 To Be 
Free.


*In an effort to get me writing more regularly, a friend suggested that we write something every day. This was randomness in my head one morning as I rode the train into the city for work. A recent writing workshop leader said to me, it doesn’t matter how good it is (or how good YOU think it is) or if you ever use it, all that matters is that you continue to write.