Portuguese haiku

Tenho saudades de ti –
de vez em quando.
Vem e vai – como o vento
sopra – surpreendendo-me.


English translation:

I miss you – sometimes.
It comes and goes – like the wind
blows – surprising me.

#BlaPoWriMo – Friday Musings on #OrphanBlack (with hyperlinks)

Working on an information literacy project,
I stumbled upon some new-to-me knowledge.
The frames that replaced the standards
sounded too much like episode titles
from Orphan Black to just leave it alone.

So I checked.

Turns out the titles from Season #1
are all quotes from Darwin’s On the Origin
of the Species (oranges and peaches –
an old reference desk librarian joke).

Season #2 titles are from Francis Bacon.
best known for cataloging the intellectual fallacies
of his time: idols of the tribe, the cave,
the marketplace, and the theater.

Season #3 titles come from Eisenhower’s
farewell address warning us of perils
of the military industrial complex (he always
knew when the muscles were about to be flexed*).

Season #4 titles are from Donna Harraway,
the professor who wrote The Cyborg Manifesto
(though addressed to women, we should
all read “The Informatics of Domination,”
“both bound in a spiral dance…” ).

So I informed the librarians who continue to argue
about the relative merits of framework
and standards for information literary instruction.
My rhizomatic approach breaks the tie.

* Gil Scott Heron – Work For Peace, 1994.

#BlaPoWriMo – Some Errant Wednesday Thoughts

It’s Wednesday, which means I’ll spend
the afternoon at my library, at the reference desk.
I’d much rather stay comfortably at home,
sip poured-through coffee in my pajamas,
and read poems my friends post on Facebook.

And what will they say of my verses when I am gone,
done? It’s fair to circumspect about the hereafter,
the other side, the end of now. Do you think
they’ll call my verses amateur (that’s what I call myself,
I’ll never make any money off non-rhyming poetry!)? 

Will they criticize my work as shallow,
superficial, a bit naive? Or maybe dark,
troubled, complex (only out of a sense of charity,
of course). It won’t matter that much to me –
I’ll be resting peacefully, with poets, by the river.

#BlaPoWriMo – Some thoughts about my country after seeing the James Baldwin movie “I am not your Negro.”

“The end we think
we seek is not near,
& it’s not the end,
& it’s not what we seek.”
— “Amtrak NE Regional”
        April 19, 2013

Your dystopian moment could be the dark ages
before the renaissance – your zombie apocalypse
a golden opportunity for the dispossessed,
a resurrection for the marginalized whose hopes
died on the cross.

The night of doom you recommend could be
a shining star heralding a dawn on a new horizon –
a long awaited dream finally being realized.
The end of all you think you know could be
a new beginning that does not include your past.

Before we nail the coffin shut, let’s listen closely
for a pulse – the quiet beating of a tale-tell heart.
It may not be too late for even you
to turn around.


Interview with James Baldwin from WGBH’s 1963 special program The Negro and the American Promise

#BlaPoWriMo – Survival of the Fit

We brought much with us inside those ships
when we emigrated to this new world
of golden promise and opportunity.
Okra & chillies & black-eyed pea seeds
we stowed away in little hiding places –
along with knowledge – how to grow rice,
how to make bread from dried corn, how to deep
fry meats to tenderize them, make them last –  
physical things, to nourish, sustain us.
But our name, our faith, our spirituality
also survived the Middle Passage,
along with our mathematics, our psychology,
& our cosmology. It all survived.
Underestimate us. Fine. We will be.

#BlaPoWriMo – Haiku for the past week

A pleasant thought – in
All you do or think or dream –
I hope – you are loved.

Hysteria reigns,
occupying every thought.
Don’t be duped again.

Two fell for a fake
Tweet because it supported
The lie they needed.

Old Elijah went straight
to heaven – didn’t pause at
Peter’s pearly gate.

Why would anyone
take that job? All the blame and
can’t bring your own team?

Friday, Nihayat
al-isbuwa. O fim de
semana. The key.

Headlines overstate –
the truth – somewhere in-between –
the Bottom – unchanged.

#BlaPoWriMo – Old School Church Songs

“Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.”―Buddha

the old ladies
in the big hats
singing the songs of Zion –

not in the choir,
but from the corner
facing the pulpit –
the Amen Corner –
the pre-11:00am-service devotion –

“I know it was the blood
Yes, I know it was the blood
I know it was the blood for me –
One day when I was lost
Jesus died upon the cross
And I know it was the blood for me.”

I don’t know if they still
sing these old songs in black churches –
I lost that cultural connection –
like so many artifacts overlooked,
broken, moving from place to place.

But I remember them, fondly –
a part of my youth and upbringing.
A rolling stone gathers no moss.
It is true.