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This summer I took some chances while listening to Chance the Rapper because I liked the beat
But listened to Kendrick when I wanted some street poetry
Some urban poetry
From poets who grew up in suburban towns with an urban state of mind
A mindless leaf fluttered out of nowhere and perched on my sandaled foot. In the distance, a disorganized medley of birdsong made up an unrehearsed orchestra. Idyllic as it was, I was in the middle of a fairly typical snapshot of spring.
She fell on top of me, burrowed her face in my fluff, hands smacking the down inside of me, legs kicking, wriggling, growing restless at the foot. Every night I gave her comfort, she told me her secrets, whispered in the meekest of voices of the taunts and the teases and the tortures of the day.
when I offered you a heart full of love
like this woman in a toy store
when I tried to spend a two-dollar bill
a relative had given me
years ago, when I was young . . .
Keep it. It may be worth something someday.
“I am going on a diet,” she announced.
“But McKenzie, you're only six! Besides, you’re beautiful!” I shot back.
“But,” she insisted, “I need to lose weight.
“No, you do not. I’m your nanny, I know these things. Now eat your lunch.”
He leaves his shoes on the doorstep. Size twelve and a half, wearing through the toes and curling with wrinkles of use. He stopped working at the orchard in November, but red Oklahoma mud still caulks the crevices and holes, stains the laces.
Five dozen shouting.
All mouths open vocalizing hatred for hate –
some to be cool, others to get it out –
looking left and right for the movement.
Where’s it going?
Never looking from where it came;
The people in my world are all for free speech
so long as it’s not mine.
Stemmed from a mind of national concern,
it hardly counts as an emergency
when I try to dig my nails into the glass
separating me from the world
and tear them apart.
It looked a bit like Lila, but it wasn’t Lila. I don’t know why people say that when someone dies they look like they’re sleeping. Her skin was dull grey and colder than ice. Her long body lay limp and heavy on the stainless steel table. Her clothes were dirty and rumpled.
A cool breeze shuffled my hair, causing deep chestnut strands to tangle in my eye lashes. As my purse swung loosely at my hip, I slowly lifted my hand to shield my defenseless eyes against the brilliant sun. I exhaled deeply, letting the awe and amazement settle in the pit of my stomach.
Sometimes I just sit there,
waiting to be struck,
with one poetic thought.
Other times I am struck,
with a line to my poem,
and I have nowhere,
to write it down.
Inspiration comes from,
nature and the world.
It comes from the people,
Bumping the van, our holey road twists
onto the dark side of each mountain,
drawing us into night and the nervousness
of a stranger at the wheel in an unfamiliar place.
The stars are swallowed, the moon gone
from the rough highway and jagged peaks.
There is so much beneath the surface
of what we are being told,
like cream rising to the top of milk,
like layers in the ocean,
like light filtering in only through the top.
The rest is inky darkness,
so much life and truth swirling beneath the surface.
I used to tread over damp ground
yet seek shelter from the rain.
Those wilted lives, half-truths
fed to half-lovers, are gone.
The hollows of your cheeks
are cracked like parched earth
from years wasted needing me to kiss you.
A creaking windowpane,
Pelted with snow,
Reflecting light onto the dusty, deep brown floor.
The rooms seems to sigh, pained with age,
Abandoned; left waiting,
The cold is kept at bay by a single lamp,
Filling the small space with warmth.
Once upon a time Goliath fell.
They built buildings on his body
and David walked away without looking back
didn’t know his victory
until he moved
opened the door
to have his pebble drop at his feet
looked up and his apartment was
I have problems
and I’ll swap mine with you like trading cards.
Long lovely disorders go over the lips like chocolate
but honey, we’ve been writing about these pits of darkness
long before shrinks slapped name tags on them.
The Ponderosa Pines hunched ponderously,
Their convoluted gestures frozen
With dry, rasping limbs in stages of vexation
And narrow forearms lifted high
In savored moments of exalted epiphany.
My brother and I climbed the questions