"This work is unlike any other, in its range of rich, conjuring imagery and its dexterity, its smart voice. Carroll-Hackett doesn’t spare us—but doesn’t save us—she draws a blueprint of power and class with her unflinching pivot: matter-of-fact and tender." —Jan Beatty

Posts tagged ‘National Poetry Month’

Happy National Poetry Month <3 What is Broken Is What God Blesses, Jimmy Santiago Baca

 

What is Broken Is What God Blesses

Jimmy Santiago Baca

   The lover’s footprint in the sand
   the ten-year-old kid’s bare feet
in the mud picking chili for rich growers,
not those seeking cultural or ethnic roots,
but those whose roots
have been exposed, hacked, dug up and burned
			and in those roots
			do animals burrow for warmth;
what is broken is blessed,
	not the knowledge and empty-shelled wisdom
	paraphrased from textbooks,
		not the mimicking nor plaques of distinction
		nor the ribbons and medals
but after the privileged carriage has passed
	the breeze blows traces of wheel ruts away
	and on the dust will again be the people’s broken
							footprints.
What is broken God blesses,
	not the perfectly brick-on-brick prison
	but the shattered wall
	that announces freedom to the world,
proclaims the irascible spirit of the human
rebelling against lies, against betrayal,
against taking what is not deserved;
	the human complaint is what God blesses,
	our impoverished dirt roads filled with cripples,
what is broken is baptized,
	the irreverent disbeliever,
	the addict’s arm seamed with needle marks
		is a thread line of a blanket
	frayed and bare from keeping the man warm.
We are all broken ornaments,
		glinting in our worn-out work gloves,
		foreclosed homes, ruined marriages,
from which shimmer our lives in their deepest truths,
blood from the wound,
				broken ornaments—
when we lost our perfection and honored our imperfect sentiments, we were
blessed.
Broken are the ghettos, barrios, trailer parks where gangs duel to death,
yet through the wretchedness a woman of sixty comes riding her rusty bicycle,
			we embrace
			we bury in our hearts,
broken ornaments, accused, hunted, finding solace and refuge
		we work, we worry, we love
		but always with compassion
		reflecting our blessings—
			in our brokenness
			thrives life, thrives light, thrives
				the essence of our strength,
					each of us a warm fragment,
					broken off from the greater
					ornament of the unseen,
					then rejoined as dust,
					to all this is.


JimmySantiagoBaca_NewBioImage

Happy National Poetry Month! What’s Broken, Dorianne Laux

What’s Broken

Dorianne Laux
The slate black sky. The middle step
of the back porch. And long ago
my mother’s necklace, the beads
rolling north and south. Broken
the rose stem, water into drops, glass
knobs on the bedroom door. Last summer’s
pot of parsley and mint, white roots
shooting like streamers through the cracks.
Years ago the cat’s tail, the bird bath,
the car hood’s rusted latch. Broken
little finger on my right hand at birth—
I was pulled out too fast. What hasn’t
been rent, divided, split? Broken
the days into nights, the night sky
into stars, the stars into patterns
I make up as I trace them
with a broken-off blade
of grass. Possible, unthinkable,
the cricket’s tiny back as I lie
on the lawn in the dark, my heart
a blue cup fallen from someone’s hands.
blue cup

Happy National Poetry Month! The Meaning of the Shovel, Martin Espada

The Meaning of the Shovel
BY MARTÍN ESPADA
—Barrio René Cisneros
Managua, Nicaragua, June-July 1982
This was the dictator’s land
before the revolution.
Now the dictator is exiled to necropolis,
his army brooding in camps on the border,
and the congregation of the landless
stipples the earth with a thousand shacks,
every weatherbeaten carpenter
planting a fistful of nails.
Here I dig latrines. I dig because last week
I saw a funeral in the streets of Managua,
the coffin swaddled in a red and black flag,
hoisted by a procession so silent
that even their feet seemed
to leave no sound on the gravel.
He was eighteen, with the border patrol,
when a sharpshooter from the dictator’s army
took aim at the back of his head.
I dig because yesterday
I saw four walls of photographs:
the faces of volunteers
in high school uniforms
who taught campesinos to read,
bringing an alphabet
sandwiched in notebooks
to places where the mist never rises
from the trees. All dead,
by malaria or the greedy river
or the dictator’s army
swarming the illiterate villages
like a sky full of corn-plundering birds.
I dig because today, in this barrio
without plumbing, I saw a woman
wearing a yellow dress
climb into a barrel of water
to wash herself and the dress
at the same time,
her cupped hands spilling.
I dig because today I stopped digging
to drink an orange soda. In a country
with no glass, the boy kept the treasured bottle
and poured the liquid into a plastic bag
full of ice, then poked a hole with a straw.
I dig because today my shovel
struck a clay bowl centuries old,
the art of ancient fingers
moist with this same earth,
perfect but for one crack in the lip.
I dig because I have hauled garbage
and pumped gas and cut paper
and sold encyclopedias door to door.
I dig, digging until the passport
in my back pocket saturates with dirt,
because here I work for nothing
and for everything.
martin-espada
Check out Martin Espada’s website for more beautiful poems! http://www.martinespada.net/

Happy National Poetry Month <3 Her Kind, Anne Sexton

Her Kind

Anne Sexton

I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.



wild woman

Happy National Poetry Month! Gratitude by Susan Ludvigson <3

 

The boat is a boat gliding
down the river whose fragrance
spins us to shady places
under apple trees
and into bedrooms. When
it ties up at shore,
the soul and drifts and returns.

 

More and more I see
how everything goes together.
There is such grace
in this reconciliation–
even the stomach, that restless
loner, begins to understand.

 

Surely the body is mind’s
gift to the soul. How else
would the dance of ecstacy begin
except in the muscles, in how
the eyes light on beauty,
and expand it, blue
when it needs blue?

 

Think how love penetrates
like music, rhythm
overpowering stasis,
as the nerves, the pulse
propel us toward moonlight,
and how the body celebrates
wholeness, its first desire.

body in water

Happy National Poetry Month! <3 A Pity, We Were Such a Good Invention by Yehuda Amichai

A Pity, We Were Such a Good Invention
by Yehuda Amichai
Translation by Assia Gutmann
They amputated
Your thighs off my hips.
As far as I’m concerned
They are all surgeons. All of them.
They dismantle us
Each from the other.
As far as I’m concerned
They are all engineers. All of them.
A pity. We were such a good
And loving invention.
An aeroplane made from a man and wife.
Wings and everything.
We hovered a little above the earth.
We even flew a little.
flight

Happy National Poetry Month! Beginning by Lia Purpura

BEGINNING

In the beginning,
in the list of begats,
one begat
got forgot:
work begets work
(one poem
bears
the next).
In other words,
once there was air,
a bird
could be got.
Not taken.
Not kept.
But conjured up.

conjure bird

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