What is a supermarket if not
the bread of colonized people
organized by weight and labeled?
Did we remember to thank the natives in the
"acknowledgements" section of the cookbook?
Was never skilled at using chopsticks.
Much prefer a good
Wash your hands before you eat.
Ok tumblr. Been trying to get unstuck in my writing. I’m taking on a new project that I hope will help broaden my reading and craft. That is, until I give it up in three weeks.
My dad lent me this book, “The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry,” which includes a short bio and several poems from about 80 poets around the world. It’s more than half European poets and almost entirely male, so f*** that, but it’s the book I have. My next project will be more intersectional. *pinky swears*
For each poet, I’ll read their selections then write a poem inspired by their work: form, content, whatever. I won’t go into detail about what specifically inspired me about each poet, unless it’s a really fascinating detail. I’m setting the goal of doing this twice a week for the foreseeable future. I’m also not going in order.
Wish me luck!
Upon eating my first forkful of pecan pie - a taste
till now prohibited by allergy - I wondered, to myself:
what else have I outgrown?
Tonight the bar thought it was a club so we only had
enough breath to bellow hello and only enough
room to embrace just once but it was enough
to know that everyone was alive and
happy or at least employed
or at least
For the Sudanese and other Africans fleeing violence who seek asylum in Israel, only to be met with racism, protest and violence.
We can all agree: the body
looks better when it’s allowed
to stand up. Looks prouder from
outside the closet, atop the
floorboards, unraveled out the attic.
Fresh air beckons the breath better
than dust. Our granddaddies know
sore lungs. Inhaled every hidden chamber
from Paris to Poland. Knew the kind of
bronchitis you only got in 1941.
Guess we forgot. Forgot all the Hitler we
swallowed. Can’t remember execution-style
hide-and-go-seek. Footfalls at night
made our hearts skip beats.
Now we act like we’re on top. But this
wall is not baby’s first set of blocks. Once built
a pyramid to keep Nefertiti in, now
we stack bricks to keep her children out. Act
like we don’t have much in common. Escaping
genocide is an important thing to have in common.
Call them infiltrators. Call them the flood. Forgot
it was our nickname in high school. In Brooklyn.
In Palestine. In Warsaw. In Babylon. Always
the new kid on the block till we owned
the block. Now we the bully. Forgot
how we Anne Franked our way
across a continent. Sore ankles, toes
numb. Feet that knew only
run. Yiddish words on my
granddaddy’s tongue a reminder
this is not where we come from.
we forget. We recite Kaddish
to mourn the dead. Tonight,
a Kaddish for our conscience. A holy
prayer for memory. God’s
children’s whole history
an experience near-death.
Been drinking from the wrong cup,
can tell by the Swastika
on our breath. That
knock, knock. It is not a knock of
refugees upon the walls of Jericho. It is our
grandmothers knocking on the sides of coffins,
knocking us upside the head, reminding us
to be ashamed of ourselves.
Call them infiltrators. Call them
the flood. We’re both the flood. They’re just
the next wave.
Make no mistake. This ain’t
racism. Ain’t even hate.
[Context: my dear friend Gideon and I spent the Summer of 2010 on a road trip around the United States. We traveled to 30 states over 11 weeks, covering almost 14,000 miles. Yesterday I read this poem at his wedding.]
For Gideon and Erin, on their wedding day.
In the beginning there is music. Finger taps, heart beats, engine
growl. This journey has rhythm. Has a hunger. The windshield swallows
the road whole – thick chunks of highway tuck in underneath you.
A pit stop is an interruption. This journey has
urgency. Has movement. You have packed your life into
bags in a trunk in a car on a road on a planet. You have
given yourself to the future. You are 24
inches from jagged concrete. An oil slick
away from catastrophe. A wrong turn from
getting lost. No part of this does not sound like
adventure. Does not taste of novelty. No part of
this does not beg forever of you.
It is the nature of roads to roughen. Soon one of you is the
tire tread, the other, the road. Soon, abrasion, wear and
the stretching of scars. Silence so total you can hear
the spinning of the drive belt. Good luck finding space
in a packed station wagon.
A pit stop cannot come fast enough. You will spend
extra time in gas station bathrooms for the solitude.
You will feel so far from home.
It is then that you will come to know the road. However tired
you feel, there is no exhaust like a caravan of eighteen-wheeler
tailpipes. No climb like the zig zag sideways up a mountain.
The road knows continue. Knows doubt. Knows how to
wind its way back to itself.
You have chosen this life with this person. You
cannot choose the breakdowns, the snowstorms,
the highway patrols but you have chosen
not to face them alone. You have chosen to speak
in the form of we. To drive through the night so
the other can sleep.
When it’s warm, cruise with the windows
down. Bring music but make time for silence.
Drive below the speed limit. You have time to
get where you’re going.
The secret of a road trip is not to find your
way home. It is to know you are already
It is the cusp of October and days don’t stretch
like they used to. I stand three eggs upright
on the counter. They topple like on other days.
One egg rolls past my fingers, across four inches
of linoleum, deposits its contents on the hardwood.
Science wins Pyrrhic victory over superstition.