Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Poetry: Also Known as Public Nudity

I wrote a lot of poetry in my teens and twenties but mostly stopped when my taste for simple rhyme and rhythm  garnered feedback from instructors that my poetry read like children's poetry. Isn't that sad? Perhaps it was meant more as an observation than a critique, but at the time, I felt like I was being belittled. I was too sensitive, and all these years later, I realize that a lot of the feedback I received in my college writing courses discouraged me from writing more, sooner. Oh well. I'm writing and publishing now, and, thankfully, seem to have outgrown being easily dissuaded. Still, preparing to publish this post, I feel more vulnerable than I usually do when sharing prose. I feel as though I'm preparing to saunter around downtown in the nude! 
This first poem is one that I wrote for Dale. I've been tinkering with it for over a year and recently shared it with Dale for the first time. His response set my heart aglow!
The second poem is something I wrote all in one sitting, last fall. It pretty much speaks for itself and was part of my attempt at coping with grief over the rape of someone I love very, very much. Putting my sense of outrage and helplessness into words didn't dull my grief, but it still felt helpful. 
I hope that these small pieces will touch something in you. <3

Love In Space(s)

It's not just that I love you from one end of the universe to the other,
my love wrapping round solar systems, over constellations, and through nebulae, until it returns to the point of origin, like a ribbon tied around a package. 
It is also that I love you in the micro-spaces. I love you in the taut moment before you decide to laugh at my ridiculous joke. I love you in the gap between your damp eyelashes as you step out of the shower, or a rainstorm, or a sad day. I love you when your heart beats, and I love you in the lull between your heartbeats. 

For The Niece I Couldn't Protect

We nod at statistics,
At conservative estimates.
We nod at our friends,
Half of whom have been raped.
We nod at our aunties,
Our mentors, our mothers.
We nod at the pain,
We've come to accept.

It's one thing to know
It has happened before.
It's one thing to cope
When it has happened to us.
It's another to think
Of our daughters and nieces,
And to know that such evil
Will visit our loves!

Today my heart's breaking
And bloodied and tearful.
Today my heart's breaking
For the young woman I love.
Today my heart's breaking
And raging and storming
That I couldn't protect
The young woman I love.