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I Know a Woman

Photo: Jeanette LeBlanc

I know a woman
forget flowers in her hair
she is queen of the crossroads
she will lay it all bare

I know a woman
forget her sweet smile
she is storming the castle
she is beauty and bile

I know a woman
forget empty words
she is forging a path
and feeding the birds

I know a woman
perhaps she is scared
she is telling the truth
she is defying the dare

I know a woman
on a corner she stands
she is taking her name
back into her hands

I know a woman
forget what you thought
she is the sole owner
of what can never be bought

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EVE

1.
Back in the garden:
Three stone slabs,
trees bending in close

but not too close.
Ranunculus flowers,
orange blooms.

A bird on a step,
a small creek below.
And beyond that,

an open green space
where my child
was playing.

I was so happy here,
finally home, my own
place, my own garden.

I called the child
to come, let’s follow
the stream.

It led to a street
we drove down,
a wasteland

of failed suburbs
dead-ending
at a concrete wall.

Both of my kids
and I agreed
not to go

that way again,
then turned back
to the garden.

2.
All day, I sat
in one place,
picturing paradise

lost in fatigued
thoughts about
buying and selling

and how lovely
it was to return
to where even

the fruit was free
for the taking.
I wonder now

if this garden
lives within me
or if someday

I will know it
when I see it,
exclaim out loud,

there it is
and make an offer
on the spot

where I was
given my name:
Chava, Eve.

National Poetry Month is right around the corner. Refuel your spirit after a long winter with Dive Into Poetry, a month-long celebration of poetry, April 1-30. Tiered pricing and all welcome!

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Where Does the Sky Begin?

Photo: Murashkame

Where does the sky begin?
Empiricists say, “Right under your feet.”
For additional answers, look within.

Ask a child and you’re in for grin.
With that kind of logic, you can’t compete.
Where does the sky begin?

Or is it sky, anything that’s not skin —
invisible source of rain, snow, and sleet.
For additional answers, look within.

Science sends my mind to a tailspin.
Poetry moves the chaff from the wheat.
Where does the sky begin?

Me? I’d rather read the notes in the margins
than believe everything on the bubble sheet.
For additional answers, look within.

Come sit and ponder, before we turn in.
This time by the fire cannot be beat.
Where does the sky begin?
For additional answers, look within.

*

Written in the Focus on Forms group during Week 3: The Villanelle. 

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Expand/Contract

Jack Comstock: “The American Dream II”

“with every contraction there is an expansion” – Peter Levine

Yes there is the breath
Yes there is belly rising falling
Yes here is chaos and fear of chaos
Yes we clamp down – – effort – – control
Yes we say can we say can’t these are just
Yes these are just words until we feel in the body
where can lives where can’t lives how the stomach
clenches or the temples pound and the temple doors
open like a mouth saying come come in or close like a
renunciation of what you thought was safe blessed even
by a god whose name you were told was sanctioned by state
leaders but no that was not here that was not yes that was not
ours that was another time another place another person’s history
not ours surely we would be we were destined to be different
and by different we knew we really meant better better than
our predecessors our ancestors our mothers and fathers
after all wasn’t that the myth the fairy tale the storyline
we followed through privileged childhoods believing
we were special believing each generation goes
beyond the one before except oh not for those
people it’s different these rules don’t apply
to the ones who are poor or who were
not born into opportunity and ease
no for them this was never true
and they knew it even tried to
keep telling us through acts
of poetry and resistance
but we did not listen
and now it’s time
when the only
choice is to
say you
were
right

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Cloudy with a Chance of Global Uprising

For Aviva

Foul mood overtakes the afternoon
despite the laying on of hands
and all good intentions
Fire belly eclipses tender heart
forcing eruption of vitriol through veins
a revolt with no room for shame
a dam useless against this mighty flow
like blood flowing like pussy riot
like do not fuck with us women
like you can’t disappear us that easily
or at all like No means No like my body
my choice like Black Lives Matter like
I’ll show you my papers when you show
us your tax returns like no I don’t want to
hold hands across the aisle not today
not tonight not tomorrow where were you
reaching for mine for the last eight years
Exactly
Compassion and kindness do not mean
not angry no they mean angrier they mean
business they mean this is not a test
they mean we will not be silenced
they mean your lies will not protect you
from the people they mean we cannot
be bought or gaslit they mean light
so bright your darkness will swallow you
whole they mean we will rise up rise up
I was quiet all day
Didn’t watch the news was determined
not to give it my two minutes not to throw
in my two cents not to throw in the towel
on hope my anger rises because hope
and anger are brothers because my love
and my anger are fraternal twins
because I am a mother whose grandmothers’
cells live inside of me whose children’s
cells live inside of me whose grandchildren’s
cells live inside of me because weeping
and this anger are not opposite
and I will oppose I will defy I will cry
I will become something violent
though I thought this is not my way
I thought I am a peace seeker but how
can I seek peace when on Day One
you strip me from your pages
write us off write us out speak in shallow
teleprompted sentences to vapid applause
My daughter cried all day
because Business as Usual slapped her
in the face because climate change
is 50 degrees in January because her body
bleeds and you say she belongs to any man
who would I can’t finish that thought
Eclipse of positivity because good vibes
will not save us now no now it’s time
to listen to the people who’ve been saying
this for so long so long too long rise up
listen to us we will not become your sheep
nor will we satisfy you by tearing each other
apart no we have to come together
we have to channel this anger
that could power a nation
keep the lights on all night and through
the warming winters
energy coursing through the body
live wire current sweeping away with it
any last vestiges of playing along
an unwinnable game
gloves off let’s be all in all of us
all in and in it together