Thursday, November 29, 2007

Yes, Yes and Yes

"To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go."

--Mary Oliver

let it go-the
smashed word broken
open vow or
the oath cracked length
wise-let it go it
was sworn to

let them go-the
truthful liars and
the false fair friends
and the boths and
neithers-you must let them go they
were born
to go

let all go-the
big small middling
tall bigger really
the biggest and all
things-let all go
so comes love

--E.E. Cummings

If truer words have ever been spoken, I have not yet heard them. Each of us would do well to keep these things in mind. If we all could, really could, think of the world we'd live in, the forgiveness we'd carry with us each day.

Monday, November 26, 2007


How sad that I'm only managing a few posts a month rather than the few a week I aspired to when I began blogging. Time does slip away...

Anyway, this fantastic ghazal was featured on Poetry Daily and I thought I'd share it, since I've been working with formal verse quite a bit:

By Accident

First she gave me the wound by accident.
Then the tourniquet she tied unwound by accident.

Your friend may want to start running.
I gave his scent to the hounds by accident.

Balloons on the mailbox, ambulance in the driveway.
Bobbing for apples I drowned by accident.

Did someone tell the devil we were building Eden?
Or did he slither on the grounds by accident?

I said some crazy things, but I swear, officer,
I burned her place down by accident.

Only surfaces interest me.
What depths I sound I sound by accident.

"What should we look for in a ghazal, Amit?"
Inevitabilities found by accident.

--Amit Majmudar

While I was copying this poem, I realized that the poet's name sounded familiar. More than a year ago, I saved another poem that a friend sent to me because it was sharp and had such lush imagery. As it turns out, it's by the same poet. Here it is:


My mother when she feared that we might starve
would give us candy taking up her violin
and playing each of us a bar
My mother when we danced the winter from
our boots and kicked the walls of circumstance
would write the needed letters over newsprint
and crinkle crackling fire till our hands
came back to us attracted to her gift
My mother painted us a still life and we peeled
and ate the fruit for lunch my mother sculpted
my sister earrings out of pebbles sculpted me
out of abandonment and earth my mother said
you are not poor until you’re at a loss
for worlds you are not rich until like Alexander
you’ve conquered foreign languages
somewhere a rich man pokes his fireplace
reminding it to give him heat she said
somewhere a rich man’s hand lunges in search
of sweetness down his horn of plenty
but there is not a fruit his fingers recognize

--Amit Majmudar

It is quite a gift to be able to write with humor on one hand and devout seriousness on the other. I'm now on the look out for more poems by the brilliant Dr. Majmudar. Here's all I could dig up on him:

Amit Majmudar is a resident physician in diagnostic radiology living in Cleveland, Ohio. Check out his website for a bit more info.:

Friday, November 2, 2007

Reading at JMU on Thursday, 11/8, @ 7:00 PM

I'm reading with Hermine Pinson and E. Ethelbert Miller at the Furious Flower Poetry Center next Thursday. The reading is part of Cave Canem's The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South anthology reading series. I'm not sure if anyone is in Harrisonburg, VA or is close to it, but if so, please come out to hear some poetry.

If you haven't heard
of the Furious Flower Conferences or Dr. Joanne Gabbin, you are missing out on a huge part of American literary history. I was fortunate enough to attend the second Furious Flower Conference in 2004. I remember sitting in a room before one of the big readings began and seeing a force of nature everywhere I looked. Elizabeth Alexander was sitting behind me, Amiri Baraka was walking up the aisle, Thomas Sayers Ellis was across the row to my left and Lucille Clifton was right down front. It was a remarkable conference and Dr. Gabbin is the only reason it ever happened and happened again.

Click here to
check out the Gwendolyn Brooks poem that Dr. Gabbin says
inspired all of this: