Thanks to everyone who gave feedback on what the next project should be. 99 days of poetry has commenced on Instagram, now through October 31. If you want to instafollow, find me @mamezirro or search #99lines.
These are the hands I raise to heaven
When I thank God for you.
These are the hands that will guard your heart,
Hold your face when I kiss you,
Wipe away your every tear,
Fold in prayer for you,
These are the hands.
This is part of a poem I wrote fourteen years ago, shortly after my first son was born. Unearthed today in the midst of a search for something else.
This morning I woke up trying to recite the words to “I know why the caged bird sings.” Whatever dream preceded it was long gone.
Later on, checking email, I shivered a little to see that this very poem is the poem of the day.
Does it mean something? Is the great poetess trying to communicate with me from the beyond? I don’t know yet, but since it’s on my mind, here’s a work in progress I started several months ago when Ms. Angelou flew this world.
I know why
for the supper
she herself must make
she craves but cannot believe
for fences she never sat on
for— and against—
choices she did not make
for memory of when her voice flew free
and of when it took leave
for the children who ask always why? never
I made you something.
It’s a poem
To hang on your fridge
To remind you we’re friends.
I thought I was writing to hide my pain
Making fun of scrapes on scraps of paper,
A black ink ruse to salve my battered blue bruise,
Hoping no one would see the sad.
But then I noticed you were sad, too
(Smiles don’t hide pain from one who is looking for it)
And I put away my selfish
When I realized it was really for you.
Would you like to play on my playground of words?
Come ride a twisty slide of nounish nonsense
Spin merry on my rhyme-go-round
Swing on a string of silly sentences. Can I give you a push?
Squeeze your knees round my monkey bar trapeze
Laugh a little at alliterated adverbs
Totter on a teetering tale of onomatopoeic wit– or nitwit.
Run with a pun and for once we’ll have fun.
Collapse on grass in fits of laugh
And when laughter subsides, with tears in our eyes
I will catch you being you and
You will snatch a glimpse of true me.
Maybe you’ll flash a ray of sun smile.
Not the fakery traded in fine Sunday shinery
But the pearl in the oyster one–
The true smile of secret shared friendly.
You don’t have to know my hurts
And I don’t have to know yours;
We’ll face each other’s comfort next time
If pain remains unspoken.
The eye corners of my heart crinkle with wincing tiniest joy–
I confess my gift is for us both–
For writing this little escape from your mundane
Is the closest happy I may ever know.
She turns to the back of her little black book
Maybe you’d like to hear a few lines?
Of course he does not
Who would? Her mother, maybe
She begins to read
And /he smiles not pleasantly/
Thinking of her poor mother, maybe not
Her pathetic plea
For poetic empathy
Please notice me—
Falls on peripatetic ears
Listening past her drone
for the going going gone
sound of an idea
He wants to shout
Blow your horn elsewhere
Rhyme your you with true
Suss out your strung out syllables
Dirigibles tossed here and there
Require more than hot air
Why are you not embarrassed by this rubbish
And who is the greater fool
You who blows smoke up your own ass in order to bring forth these charred rectal probings you call poems
Or I who smile that pained smile as I watch my own idea fly
Oh why did I not flee alongside that transient thought of mine? Eternally gone; a butterfly does not return to its chrysalis.
to her chattering blithely
with the cringing crashing tide
of her self congratulatory
The back of the napkin remains regrettably blank
And she has no idea because
No one ever cleared her mind
Or set the table claiming to be a closet waitress.