Poetry in People’s Park, Berkeley, originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.
My new buddy recently introduced me to the poetry slam at MACLA and upcoming open mic nights at Blue Monkey in downtown San Jose [Blue Monkey! The name just makes me laugh and think of Baji, my favorite robot monkey pirate], then I also attended the Poetry for the People reading one evening last week in Berkeley, and will be at the Mohja Kahf reading in San Francisco this Monday, so April has been all about poetry appreciation. I hope you knew that April is National Poetry Month, otherwise, that’s it, we just can’t be friends anymore. I’ve been subscribed to receive a Poem-A-Day from Poets.org in my email inbox since last year, and what’s even more rocking is coming across pieces of poetry on my usual online haunts like weblogs and flickr.
[Click each of the direct links below, to access the poems in their entirety.]
Brimful, who writes so beautifully about San Francisco like no one else can, posted Reverie by Bhikshuni Weisbrot:
I may take a moment or two
to settle and see the multicolored
glory of fall,
pressed flat and sodden
after a day of rain,
a season at its peak of beauty
full but fragile
so you know from experience,
bound to disappear.
The next day, she shared Atlantis—A Lost Sonnet by Eavan Boland:
what really happened is
this: the old fable-makers searched hard for a word
to convey what is gone is gone forever and
never found it. And so, in the best traditions of
where we come from, they gave their sorrow a name
and drowned it.
Ganesh posted Louise Glück’s Averno: Part I, Poem 4:
How privileged you are, to be still passionately
clinging to what you love;
the forfeit of hope has not destroyed you.
This is the light of autumn; it has turned on us.
Surely it is a privilege to approach the end
still believing in something.
The New York Times review of “Averno” also quotes some lovely lines from Glück’s various poems; I think I shall have to buy this book.
Baraka’s Poetry Monday focused on Su’ad Abdul-Khabeer:
Young men in fitted caps
deep in sly glances,
Others offer courtesies in appreciation.
Women honor us openly or
with their arrogance,
And the press
can’t get enough of us.
See, clothes do not hide the woman
They announce her.
To cover or not to cover
Is not my battleground.
I don’t know how I never found Madlyne on flickr until two weeks ago, but her jarring photograph was captioned with Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem, Kindness, and I knew we’d have to be friends:
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?