April 26, 2017 – Poem from a future place
Assuming their survival, future archivists
and researchers thumbing through old papers
and computer files might wonder why we wrote
these 30 poems in April.
They might think a cult required this practice,
or worse, punishment for a crime committed –
it might appear to be a mild obsession,
on top of other daily things we had to do.
It is an interesting habit we give ourselves
over to, a work, a focus, this daily output
of ruminations and verbal meanderings.
A future reader might wonder what was
its end, its conclusion for our lives.
It’s time to gather thoughts about today’s
submission and how it might look tomorrow,
and what type of trail we are leaving.
April 25, 2017 – Spaces poem
This might sound disjointed –
I’m writing it while riding on the
Orange Line from Capital South
to Foggy Bottom – you’ve heard it before.
Poetry Magazine arrived today. Yay!
It’s my favorite space and the high
point of my month. This issue even has
several submissions by members
of my particular diaspora group.
I always look for them first. Call me
whatever name you want. Every
broken thing will be fixed, but not
on this go-round. So don’t wait idly for it
to happen, or for any other pipe dream
to come true. Today at the African Art
Museum I stumbled upon a new poet,
Jose Craveirinha, from the time
he spent in prison with Mozambique’s
most prolific artist, Malangatana,
whose biopic I am cataloging.
A prison cell is a tiny space, a type of
heterotopia that distorts and unsettles
other spaces. But brains link together
in all kinds of places to plot a revolution.
In the interim, poetry by my people
is my surest panacea.
April 24, 2017 – Ekphrastic: Medieval Marginalia
Elephant farts and penis fruit on trees,
concentric stacks of human excrement,
all images drawn in margins of ancient tomes.
You might conclude a connection to the text
exists – those endless columns of illegible gothic
Latin font only translatable by the priests
and those who served them directly. The images
in the margins do not illustrate the text, like pictures
in children’s books. That’s not their function.
Rather, they illuminate. Nothing to do with the text,
actually. Coded images of an imagination run amok,
providing a welcome interlude from study,
a break from the monotony of the mundane –
a necessary excursion to a hidden, magic land.
April 23, 2017 – Elevenie
my deepest love.
That music thrills me –
always totally satisfying.
I enjoy each potful,
April 23, 2017 – Election Day
Watching early election returns on France 24.
Turnout is high, but undecided voters are still
undecided. Le Pen is smiling on the television.
Clinton voters are experiencing voter remorse
at a rate that is statistically significant. 15%.
Trump voters are 1% remorseful.
Many French voters say they have waited until
the last minute, postponing their decision,
choosing the least evil. Prediction: upset.
Obama is back in Chicago. Wonder how many
gangbangers and innocent bystanders will die
from gunfire in Chicago tonight?
What’s happening in my hometown? Firewall
won’t let me access the News & Record
without subscribing, but the obituary is free.
April 22, 2017 – Earth Day
I still recall a passage
I memorized in my youth
from Vergil’s Georgics –
“Happy the man who doth
the causes know of all that is –
serene he stands above all fears:
above the inexorable fate and
that insatiate gulf that roars below.”
It took mere moments
to memorize those lines,
but years to understand
their meaning for my life.
Arabic speakers greet you,
Ahlan wa Sahlan. Welcome.
Ahlan – the people (family) and
Sahlan – the land (food, abundance).
Heirs of ancient civilizations
know something about life’s priorities.
I won’t be gardening this spring
unless I can find a garden plot
closer to home. The commitment
to travel across the city several times
a week was too much for me.
Francis Bacon, trans. in The Advancement of Learning, Book 1.
From Vergil Georgics, Book 2, line 487- 490.