Letter from the Future

January 6, 2009

My eight year old girl

                knows more than the Pope;

more than the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints;

more than the Anglican Church of Uganda and Rwanda;

more than Dr. James Dobson, Doctor of Divinity.

 

For she has seen the divine in families with two dads;

knows her friends with two mommies have lives and homes like her own;

sees her friends cared for and loved.

 

She would not understand why her friends cannot get health insurance

                because the wrong mommy was covered. 

                or are not able to visit the wrong daddy in the hospital

                or are sent to live with a barely-known relative

 when the wrong mommy dies

                or why their parents pay more in taxes

                while their family is not recognized by the state.

 

No what my daughter sees is Suzanne’s dad

                struggling to care for Suzanne’s disabled brother;

                sees him give up his career to create a good life for his daughter and son.

 

When was the last time that a pope cared for a disabled child;

                or even changed a single diaper?

                An unfit Papa if you ask me.

 

Do the elders of the Temple of Mormon think

                that bashing families will make them forget their century of humiliation;

                or make us forget their legacy of polygamy

and their stone age views on women?

 

Why in Uganda and Rwanda lands splattered with damp human blood

                does the Anglican Church spend its time focusing on the sexual practices

                of those 10,000 miles away?

 

And for Dr. James Dobson, Doctor of Divinity, I too have a letter from the future. 

It is from 2036.

                Focus on the Family has issued an apology

for decades of hatred of gays and lesbians.

                A Lesbian evangelical Christian has been elected

President of the United States.

 

This letter is for you, America, with postage due.

 

Three Herons

January 4, 2009

 

I.            

 

Whiter      Snow

                Noon      Sun

Sneaking       S-neck

 

All      Patience

                Balance      Spring

Strikes      Swallows

 

Silence

 

II.

 

Grey

                Not yet

                                Blue-grey

 

Young poet’s

                Object

                                Now mine

 

Stalking

                The same

                                As before

 

IIL

 

Heron hunting                                                   So close.

Gator sunning                                                   So close.

 

To eat

To be eaten

 

Life

 

 

3rd Friday PerVerse – December 19th

December 24, 2008

This was my first time at PerVerse. ( I guess “the first time” is a bit of a theme here.) This reading was for the new edition of the journal Poems Against War. Patric Pepper and Reginald Harris were featured. And of course there was an open mic. I liked the open mic and featured poets. The highlight for me was Reginald Harris’s reading.   I was really impressed with his poetry and delivery.  The low point was getting a call from my wife to run home because our hot water heater was turning our basement into a swimming pool.

In the open mic I did Prophecy and To Albert.

To Albert

December 18, 2008

This poem was written around the twenty-fifth anniversary of Albert Einstein’s death.

 

For twenty-five years now

The seasons have past

Concrete caverns built

Zombie metal fish swim

Un-singing birds swiftly fly

Always filling with angels of death

Always hungry, always empty

The vacuum fills

It never will fill

For twenty-five years now

The seasons have past

And the dark angels

Have had no soul.

 

For twenty-five years now

Mestopheles

Has laughed at the passing seasons

Their power of eternal repetition, reproduction, change

He knows someday soon they will end

He will triumph

For the dark angels

Have lost their soul.

 

But you, your eyes now empty caverns

The warmth that filled now gone

For twenty-five years now

Even your eyes have lost their soul.

That fatal moment

When clouds of faustian desire

Turned to rainwater

And with your death

The water turned brackish

For the dark angels

Have no soul.

 

For twenty-five years now

We have been without a sun

And in the darkness

The dark angels are invisible

Soulless, substanceless

More real that the eternal trembling of time

Stronger than the trembling of time.

 

Poetry in Baltimore – 2nd Sundays – December 14th

December 17, 2008

This was my first time at Minas, it is a nice space for smaller readings.  This reading was a Benefit for Hearts Place Shelter, you can still donate just follow the link.  This reading is reviewed on the poetryinbaltimore forum so I will only mention what my personal favorites were.  I liked most of the open mic poets, my favorite were the two women who read together a poem that updates the Persephone myth.  I liked Miriam Botwinik reading which focused on childhood nostalgia.   I also liked Ron Williams performance poetry pieces.  

Overall there was a strong left-liberal political focus in the poetry.  I was okay with it until one of the featured poets pulled out a copy of the Revolutionary something or other and starting reading a piece of political polemic.

In the open mic I read Bad Speed Date and Bryce Remembered.

Art of Conversation – December 13th

December 15, 2008

There was a big crowd at the Art of Conversation.  It was standing room only for late arrivals.  Mo’ Optic was the featured poet.  I was really impressed with her poetry and delivery.  I especially liked the unique musical quality of her delivery.  Unfortunately she does not have a web site, or CD yet.  There is a CD on the way.  So you will have to be patient.

I got a very vivid reminder of the power of words when a poem that I read touched a raw nerve.  Unfortunately, it was not the nerve I was planning to touch.  I am not going to get into it here except to say that it is a cross-cultural poem that involves three cultures and there is certainly room to offend each of the three if done wrong.  So when I figure out how maintain the edge while still get folks to hear my point I will put it online.  But for now you can see the other poem I read Solstice.

There were a number of strong poems in the open mic.  The most interesting turn of the evening was an impromptu freestylin’ dual between that started at the end of the last poem.  The poem was by a male poet whose refrain is “when you gonna give me some ass”, needless to say it was not the most popular with some of the women.  Mo’ Optic took up the challenge and E stopped it after Mo’ scored a TKO.

Going to the Art of Conversation tonight

December 13, 2008

Hope to see you there.

Going to the Reading at Minas

December 12, 2008

I am going to the reading at Minas on Sunday. Here is more information about it:

PoetryInBaltimore.com Second Sunday Reading Series presents
Gimme Shelter Productions Community Harvest Benefit for Hearts Place Shelter

Sunday December 14th 4:00 pm
At Minas’ Boutique 815 W. 36th Street (The Avenue in Hampden)
$3 or what you can give and a non perishable food items
Starts with an open mic

For more info

Four New Poems this Week

December 12, 2008

I added four new poems this week.  Here are the first stanzas of each one. Click on the title to get the full poem.

Bryce Remembered

Late arrival
         campground darkness
cold Autumn
         high desert
blank world
         empty.

Prophecy

The heavens may be silent;

               but the heart

                              is not.

 Christina’s World

There are paintings

               below paintings

and so there are lives

               below lives.

When paintings crack, we see

               the paint below,

               unseen figures and scenes.

When illusions crack, we see

               the lives below.

Solistice

When winter comes

The fire grows warmer

The snow bells tingle

Frosting panes

When winter comes.

 

Patricia Smith and Cave Canem Reading – December 7th

December 10, 2008

This was an incredible reading at the Pratt Library.  According to their web site “Cave Canem is committed to the discovery and cultivation of new voices in African American poetry.”  As the moderator, Reginald Harris, pointed out Cave Canem poets do not have a single style.  There was approximately 10 poets that each read for 5 minutes, unfortunately I do not have their names.  (There was no program for the reading.)  All I can say is that each was interesting and several were quite powerful.

The main event was Patricia Smith who is an established poet & slam champion.  This was her first reading where she exclusively read from her book “Blood Dazzler”.  This book is a collection of poems about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.  The reading like the poems was impressive.  Even reading her poems from behind a lecturn on a stage she was able to channel her poems.  In some poems the narrator is the Hurricane itself and in others it is the voices of its victims.  Her hurricane narration was quite chilling and her narration of the voices of the victims was convincing.

The only downside of this event to me was the turn out.  There was a decent number of people there, but given the number of people who were on stage the number should be higher.  I was impressed how few people in the local Spoken Word scene have heard of Patricia Smith.  I did not recognize one person at the reading.  I am not blaming anyone, but I wish that the poetry world was less fragmented. 

If you are interested in seeing Patricia Smith without journeying far away or going back in time look on the web.  She has a number of pieces on Youtube and also on Borders Open Book Poetry.