Tag Archives: poem

selections from Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“She’ll come back and be a serious Americanah like Bisi,” Ranyinudo said.

They roared with laughter, at that word “Americanah,” wreathed in glee, the fourth syllable extended, and at the thought of Bisi, a girl in the form below them, who had come back from a short trip to America with odd affectations, pretending she no longer understood Yoruba, adding a slurred r to every English word she spoke. (78) Continue reading

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“Workweek” by Keith Gaboury

On Monday, I slipped out of my skin
in the parking lot, leaving
my freckles rotting in the sun.

On Tuesday, I gave my liver
a vacation in the breakroom.

On Wednesday, I scooped out
my eyeballs, happy to display them

in a glass of ice tea
to my co-worker Sam.

On Thursday, I panfried
my testicles, serving two globes

during our spaghetti and meatballs
office party.

On Friday, I poked a pen
through my stomach lining

where I wrote a two-week declaration
of war to the VP of Cadaver Development.

On hands and knees, I stuffed
my guts under his door

before stumbling past
a slab of putrefied flesh. Continue reading

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dinner

one hemisphere and the other,
my wife and my man,
my speaking softly, loudly shouting,
my questioning the knowing
of the ocean, my thirst,
for shopping and having,
thinking and sleeping,
living and dreaming,
spinning and careening into
a big white plate of kale and kid’s pasta. Continue reading

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going downtown

an enormous cloud hangs over the city
as i walk up 2nd Ave smoking
the remnant of a good night, breathing
the rain-washed air of a good day.

i snap a picture of the cloud
with my phone, with my phone
pay the bus fare, sit in the last
square of four seats occupied by three
silent, independent women, each wearing
a distinct set of dark shades. mine barely
cover my eyes as i look south to see
the cloud retreating and the bright sun
emerging, blanketing everything.

suddenly, the three stages of consciousness
blind me:

first, squinting, measuring the luminosity,
cursing myself for forgetting a hat,
wondering about skin cancer, meditating on the family.
second, reasoning, realizing that by
slightly lifting my limb i can slow the effect
of aging. finally, believing,
breathing in, being,
eyelids down aware that death is
and will always be, so may as well
repose on the sunny side. Continue reading

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SAS 10

the sun awoke
slowly—bony and burdened
on the floor of the horizon—
beamed brilliantly with life
even at that great distance—
crimson—breathed
our Beast away
and begun a new morning.

in His wake—
peace—
drooling love. Continue reading

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lines written above Muir Beach

does a poem peek thru the morning fog
like the sun with a weary white face?
does it travel a million miles thru the mind
just to vanish in a moment’s gray haze? Continue reading

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military-industrial sunrise

dawn lifts me from sleep
like a cloud over the mountaintop—
precious cargo of my dreams
fleeing, leaving me
in the vast desert of consciousness.

microscopic ignitions inside my skull,
like cans of pop being opened,
go off every few seconds—
volcanic eruptions on the synaptic scale.

i sit up dazed at the foot of a monolithic tree
decorated w neon green moss,
rising to heaven—ageless tower,
incomprehensible babble.

oh! that these lines be not so complex,
that you hear the sound of my simple mind waking,
reaching, stretching, hoping, aching,
and from your own bed see the same sky breaking. Continue reading

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seven lines

what truth can possibly be expressed
on a white page
in blue ink
under red light
against the mountainside
beneath dark skies
with only seven lines? Continue reading

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on Swift

If I may share a word or two—
And in his rhyme and rhythm too—
I’d like to riff on Jonathan Swift,
Whom I assure you is not missed.

The famous Irish writer’s name,
Though wreathed as Pope’s in golden flame,
Should be extinguished from the shelves
And thereby save us from ourselves.
For I’m familiar (as are you)
With Lilliputians and the yahoo,
Widespread as Carroll’s Cheshire.
And yet, this is not satire:
I’d sooner smash my eyes with gavels
Than read more of that Gulliver’s Travels!
“His magnum opus,” so they say,
But still just spittle, drunkard’s spray.
If that’s the best, then what’s the worst?
My friends, avoid his tiresome verse.
Misogynistic, biting, dull,
The work of a self-loving skull.
Oh watch him whack on Whigs and Tories!
Another poem? More dreadful stories…

So if you find yourself slipping
To ancient eras’ black ink dripping,
To Woolf or Dickens, Dryden drift,
But God forbid you pick up Swift. Continue reading

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breath of the universe

with a breeze at your back—
and the sun setting—
this hot, desolate dryness
seems bearable.
you can almost see yourself
descending
water-laden
into the Great Basin
full of fascination, bewilderment,
life. through
the viscous transparent waves
emanating from everything
at a distance
you can almost see yourself
escaping, recovering
what once was lost.
yourself
is always seen
by infinite eyes peering
out of rocks and soil and sky and rain
because
everyone enjoys a good look in the mirror.
and at this wild desert masquerade
you climb
and climb
heaving, huffing
the desert dunes
until you reach the top, where you sigh
a breeze. Continue reading

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