Two Left Feet

Slightly better life choices today, which is encouraging. And one excellent surprise gift that fell into the lap of one of the programs I oversee. It will require a crazy amount of work on the part of the tiniest part of our team, but it will definitely be worth it in the end. A nice way to close the work week.

The source text tonight is, once again, “further note to clark” by Lucille Clifton. I wouldn’t have guessed how fertile that poem would be for me. This is the third — or fourth? — Golden Shovel using that poem as the jump-off point.

Change Partners

I am a painful dancer ... what
to do with my awkwardness? I
move forward, left, right, back ... moves that can
never quite meet yours. We smile, silently promise
to forgive, to keep trying, to indulge, to
do better. But perhaps what I need you to be,
what I need you to do is --
at last -- release me. Let me slip through your hands like water.

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!

Keep Moving Forward …

Whew. A long day full of bad choices. Best to post quickly and move on. Here’s hoping tomorrow is better. No … more necessary: here’s promising myself that tomorrow will be better. Sigh.

The source text for tonight’s poem is Lucille Clifton’s “wild blessings,” which is such an excellent title, and such an excellent piece.

Anniversary

We stand together, you and I.
Who you are, who I am
for all of it, I'm grateful.
I have given so much for
this chance, this time -- many
compromises yielding many blessings.

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!

Circling Back

I’ve had a day filled with loveliness. The knitted gifts I’ve been making have been arriving at their recipients’ homes, and today I have a text thread full of photos of a friend’s baby son wrapped up and smiling in a blanket I made him, and a Messenger thread of excellent photos of a friend and her daughter and the sweater I sent. Knitting for my friends’ kids has been fun (continues to be fun — I have a couple more items to finish). Seeing and hearing their responses to receiving my boxes full of cozy love makes me feel embraced and warm.

All that love circling back to me is super welcome — any time, but certainly today. Certainly today. I wrote an uncomfortable Golden Shovel for tonight, and thought about ditching it in light of all this love coming my way, but I’m going to post it anyway, stay true to where the poem wanted to go.

The source text tonight is, again, “further note to clark,” by Lucille Clifton. I used this poem as source text back on the 16th. On that day, it put an R.E.M. song in my head. Tonight, it spoke to my feeling of disquiet, of rootlessness in this moment.

I am empty in the
face of my forever question:
what are we here for?
Who do we live and die for? Do you
know how hard this is?

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!

Bending

Today went significantly differently from what I imagined at 6:30 this morning. In some ways worse, some ways better. In most ways, surprising.

I’m annoyed tonight to already be seeing “late breaking” headlines that say stupid things. Headlines that imply justice abounds and ask what we should be fighting for next. Excuse me? One vile, hateful human was held accountable for a crime — and it remains to be seen what kind of sentence will define that accountability. One man couldn’t lie his way out of guilt. That doesn’t dismantle a system that is still very much in place, still very much functioning exactly as it was designed. While that verdict was being read out, police in Columbus, Ohio were shooting to death a Black child who had called for their assistance and protection.

I’m glad Chauvin has been found guilty on three counts — one of those counts should have been first-degree murder, but we were never going to get that charge, so okay. I’m glad he’s been found guilty. I cannot kid myself that the battle is won. This was a step, and may turn out to be an important one. It is, still, just a step.

That arc, the one of the moral universe, it may have bent just a tiny bit today. I’ll take it. And I’ll be glad for it. And then I’ll demand more.

The source text for tonight’s Golden Shovel is, once again, Lucille Clifton’s anthem of a poem, “won’t you celebrate with me.”

All by Myself

There are so many who won't
see, won't accept, won't want you
to find reason to celebrate
this small gift, even as it comes with
strings attached. But me --
I'm here to take what
is given. I see what the universe did
and see what I
will have to do in response. You see,
it's clear that some folks want to
take even the smallest pieces, can't let me be
hopeful, even in the smallest way. Except ...
I need no leave. I can raise this fist all by myself.

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!

“Tell me why you love me.”

I’m listening to Marc Rebillet sing that line. I’m listening to last Sunday’s “Brunch” FB stream. Rebillet fascinates me. Fascinates me in the way getting to watch any artist create in real time fascinates me. Watching him is scary. He just does anything, does everything. He’s so … visible. I can’t fathom letting anyone watch me in the way he let’s himself be watched. Crazypants. And beautiful and amazing. And terrifying.

I tried something with tonight’s poem, and it didn’t really work, but I’m leaving it as is and posting it anyway. The source text for tonight comes from Lucille Clifton’s poem, “my dream about being white.” I want someone to create a silent meditation retreat — maybe only for Black women — where all participants do is read Clifton for hours and hours every day and see where their minds go. Yeah, definitely only for Black women.

What I Might Want (Take 2)

It's more than a year and
I'm wondering where we go. I'm
wary, perhaps even scared. I'm wearing
confidence, self-assuredness -- a mask that looks like a white
flag. I'm giving up, giving in -- to you, to history.

Giving in, giving up. But
still, there's
magic in this surrender. No,
not defeat, not stagnation. A glimpse of a future.

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!