Wednesday, November 21, 2012

poetry gorge

in between shopping for tomorrow's feast, a yoga session, and loosely monitoring children (read: ignoring children), i did poetry, poetry, poetry.

i finished a draft of a new poem, read some student poems, and studied for a paper i'm writing.

it was a great day, even in the midst of reading a lot of poetry i don't particularly love (read: shelley).

one of the things i had hoped to accomplish in a year of 365 girls in a tight place posts was to cultivate an appreciation of the now--not pining for the future, not regretting the past, but opening my eyes and ears and heart to more of the moments i'm blessed (and cursed) with.

today, during a low-key dinner, i suddenly thought about how much i've always loved words:  learning them, saying them, hearing them, singing them, teaching them, reading them, writing them.

suddenly overwhelmed by this love, overtaken by gratitude.  a strange moment, in the empty, dive-y, pine-sol scented betos, splitting their humbly delicious fajitas platter with christian.

then i started listing words i love in my head.

like:  polyglot.

it sounds weird, but i've never felt super lonely in my life on account of books, notebooks, and writing implements.  there's this ur-melody always with me.  it goes like this: you always have your writing, there's always another book to read.

sometimes i have a strange fantasy of being imprisoned in some sort of solitary confinement.

i imagine having nothing to write with or to read.

no worries.

i have a plan for that scenario:  i'll make up poems in my head and commit them to memory.  i don't write a lot of formal poetry typically, but in solitary, with nothing to write with, i'd probably go with the shakespearean sonnet, since it's my mother form, it's deeply imprinted in my skin, blood, and bones

& , it would help me remember.

so please indulge me while i share a couple more thanksgiving/ fall themed poems.  and feel the blessings of this particular human form of expression--an expression that can somehow encompass light and dark, creation and destruction, joy and despair in a word or a line or a couplet. nothing but music can do that same sort of thing, in my opinion.

and the coolest thing is

that if it's a great poem,

you won't even be able to say what it is that's happening to you, how it happened, or why you love it so much.

so here's a poem by one of my favorite writers, jean toomer, and one by the always fantastic joy harjo.  with gratitude to words, poets, and readers.

diva rock star poet joy harjo.

Perhaps the World Ends Here
by Joy Harjo

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.

This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.

Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.

We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.


harlem renaissance poet jean toomer.  author of one of my all-time favorite books, cane.

by Jean Toomer

Boll-weevil’s coming, and the winter’s cold,
Made cotton-stalks look rusty, seasons old,
And cotton, scarce as any southern snow,
Was vanishing; the branch, so pinched and slow,
Failed in its function as the autumn rake;
Drouth fighting soil had caused the soil to take
All water from the streams; dead birds were found
In wells a hundred feet below the ground—
Such was the season when the flower bloomed.
Old folks were startled, and it soon assumed
Significance. Superstition saw
Something it had never seen before:
Brown eyes that loved without a trace of fear,
Beauty so sudden for that time of year.


legwear: pink tights

inspired by: poets who keep writing

looking foward to: the day of the bird.


  1. Artists who keep making art are inspiring, aren't they? I don't know why this is such a late realization for me.

    1. these individuals who continue despite-----idk-----external reward? are my main inspiration now.

  2. From Simon and Garfunkel: "I've got my books / and my poetry to proctect me."