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Possession in Great Measure

from “Renditions of Change,” a work in progress

As I teach my students,

I try to be honest

in who I am;

yet, fear

I’m a fraud.

Teaching’s resistance:

how to read,

analyze,

break meaning from words–

then rewrite

in the students’ voices

without becoming

a lie that exalts

the life

they are not.

(February 7, 2019)

Things I would Not Wish on Anyone

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after Lucille Clifton

 

I wish them disdain

I wish them questions

in a new town

that does not speak their language

 

I wish them to lose

their beloved stuffed bear

because the dogs can smell

the Rio Grande

 

Later let them learn humility

as the man’s arrogance

drips condescension

like venom

 

Let them think they don’t belong

Let them be turned away

 

(July 11, 2018)

the words were why I wrote when young

 

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the words were a way out

between the rigid definitions,

the expectations carved in cant

 

the words slipped along fault

line’s edges; the incongruous fissured

like water through the undefined

 

the words wore meaning there,

bare and taut, shrugging off

all social niceties for love

 

the words were love for the world:

the laughter of the sun rippling

the horizon further each day

 

words were a way to a salvation

from what I was not to become

 

(June 25, 2018)

onward into the day

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“Love is the root of everything….Love, or the lack of it.”

— Fred Rogers 

 

like glass resonant in trembled anger

the fear is outrageous and constant

one horrific event erases the next

in an infinite succession of bomb blasts

bludgeoning attention to a bloody slurry

only the noise of the moment matters

and it does not matter even then

but only in the silence it creates in you

the silence of the possibility of dissent

so one must learn to hear without

hearing deafly to see again without

seeing blindly to go with open trust

across the shattered shards of glass

onward into the darkening night

 

(June 23, 2018)

Cassandra at the Door

Fish_drying

 

To hammer a nail straight

and quick with a few strikes

takes practice— to the point:

 

I stake myself on a cross,

a basic graph to plot

trends and sequences—

 

facts and numbers,

numbers and facts,

are so easily turned;

 

so, perhaps a story here

that can plant the horror

will suffice to save us:

 

Do you hear that? It is

coming. Martyrs laid

out like drying fish;

 

where distortions and lies

bend all matter to earth

a fetid stench rises.

 

In a hell so manifold,

your closest friends

will be devoured.

 

(June 16, 2018)