Stand in the place where you live.

Now face north.

It was bound to happen: me falling asleep as I tried to post my daily poem. If only I could write at noon instead of 11pm. So I’m posting yesterday’s poem now, at 1:30 in the morning, having just woken up, half slumped over my computer.

I’m back to feeling uncomfortable with this form. This one feels forced, and I’m not sure it gets where it was trying to go. And I’m not sure why, exactly, it immediately made R.E.M.’s “Stand” my earworm, but I haven’t thought of that song in a long time, so I’m okay with it, and it gave me the titles for both this post and my poem. The source text for tonight is Lucille Clifton’s “further note to clark.”

Listen to Reason

I am wondering what
any of us will ever have --
me, my people, your people, you.
Will we ever
not be crossing and recrossing these roads we've traveled.
Will we ever reorient ourselves toward
freedom, due north, peace, something more --
something more honest than
any of this. I want your
release, your salvation, as much as my own.
This isn't the time to retreat to safety.

National Poetry Month 2021: the Golden Shovel

As I’ve done for the last forever, I’ve chosen a poetic form, and I’m going to try to write a poem in that form every day for the month of April. I don’t always succeed, but I always give it my best shot. The “Golden Shovel” was created by Terrance Hayes in tribute to Gwendolyn Brooks. I learned about it from my friend Sonia (aka Red Emma). I’ll be using Lucille Clifton’s poems as my starting point this month. Here are the rules:

  • Take a line (or lines) from a poem you admire.
  • Use each word in the line (or lines) as the end word for each line in your poem.
  • Keep the end words in order.
  • Give credit to the poet who originally wrote the line (or lines).
  • The new poem does not have to be about the same subject as the poem that offers the end words.

If you pull a line with six words, your poem would be six lines long. If you pull a stanza with 24 words, your poem would be 24 lines long. And so on.

Should be interesting!

5 thoughts on “Stand in the place where you live.

  1. Lainie Levin

    There’s so much here in these lines. That reference to north – it speaks of freedom, but also to our moral compass, or own guiding star of humanity. And yes, ALL of our salvation and release depends on ALL of us achieving salvation and release.

    You know, now that I think about it, I’m traveling back in my head to that R.E.M. song, It’s so repetitive, always circling back on itself. I don’t think you could have chosen a better song for that image…


    1. Oh, this is good, Lainie. I didn’t see the fullness of the R.E.M. connection! Nor did I notice that I pulled “north” from the song into the post as well as the poem! Sometimes these things just fall into place, don’t they? Thanks for pointing them out! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lainie Levin

        They do! It’s also the miracle of putting our work out into the world. Other people see things off in the corners that are waiting to be noticed and thought about.

        Liked by 1 person

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