Old #Transit poem by famous Canadian poet Margaret Avinson

Transit

Blowing hard at the bus stop: southbound, NW corner.
Barometer falling.
Stars falling, but in that
blue sky who marks it, they fall all over out there.

Wind’s off the Barren Straits.
But the sun is blowing too.
Rearing high out of the nest snakeheads flap in it till the
tear ducts crackle.

The whole geste unrolls; black cars,
poles, black-and-white headlines,
dentist’s floss, wire mesh,
heads spinning, and
a thorn needle for every solitary tune even though there’s no
automatic arm. And it’s
all plugged in
and everything is coming.
But the bus isn’t coming.

Noon keeps swallowing.

The steeplejack by Marianne Moore

#iNeedFeminismBecause #intersectionality #smalltown #endpoverty #environment #climatechange

Dürer would have seen a reason for living
   in a town like this, with eight stranded whales
 to look at; with the sweet sea air coming into your house
 on a fine day, from water etched
   with waves as formal as the scales
 on a fish.

 One by one in two's and three's, the seagulls keep
   flying back and forth over the town clock,
 or sailing around the lighthouse without moving their wings --
 rising steadily with a slight
   quiver of the body -- or flock
 mewing where

 a sea the purple of the peacock's neck is
   paled to greenish azure as Dürer changed
 the pine green of the Tyrol to peacock blue and guinea
 gray. You can see a twenty-five-
   pound lobster; and fish nets arranged
 to dry. The

 whirlwind fife-and-drum of the storm bends the salt
   marsh grass, disturbs stars in the sky and the
 star on the steeple; it is a privilege to see so
 much confusion. Disguised by what
   might seem the opposite, the sea-
 side flowers and

 trees are favored by the fog so that you have
   the tropics first hand: the trumpet-vine,
 fox-glove, giant snap-dragon, a salpiglossis that has
 spots and stripes; morning-glories, gourds,
   or moon-vines trained on fishing-twine
 at the back door;

 cat-tails, flags, blueberries and spiderwort,
   striped grass, lichens, sunflowers, asters, daisies --
 yellow and crab-claw ragged sailors with green bracts -- toad-plant,
 petunias, ferns; pink lilies, blue
   ones, tigers; poppies; black sweet-peas.
 The climate

 is not right for the banyan, frangipani, or
   jack-fruit trees; or for exotic serpent
 life. Ring lizard and snake-skin for the foot, if you see fit;
 but here they've cats, not cobras, to
   keep down the rats. The diffident
 little newt

 with white pin-dots on black horizontal spaced-
   out bands lives here; yet there is nothing that
 ambition can buy or take away. The college student
 named Ambrose sits on the hillside
   with his not-native books and hat
 and sees boats

 at sea progress white and rigid as if in
   a groove. Liking an elegance of which
 the sourch is not bravado, he knows by heart the antique
 sugar-bowl shaped summer-house of
   interlacing slats, and the pitch
 of the church

 spire, not true, from which a man in scarlet lets
   down a rope as a spider spins a thread;
 he might be part of a novel, but on the sidewalk a
 sign says C. J. Poole, Steeple Jack,
   in black and white; and one in red
 and white says

 Danger. The church portico has four fluted
   columns, each a single piece of stone, made
 modester by white-wash. This would be a fit haven for
 waifs, children, animals, prisoners,
   and presidents who have repaid
 sin-driven

 senators by not thinking about them. The
   place has a school-house, a post-office in a
 store, fish-houses, hen-houses, a three-masted schooner on
 the stocks. The hero, the student,
   the steeple-jack, each in his way,
 is at home.

 It could not be dangerous to be living
   in a town like this, of simple people,
 who have a steeple-jack placing danger signs by the church
 while he is gilding the solid-
   pointed star, which on a steeple
 stands for hope.

Buy the Faber Book of 20th Century Women’s Poetry, ed. Fleur Adcock, from an indie bookseller here.

“The night is beautiful So the faces of my people.” Langston Hughes #ValentinesDay #BlackHistory

When you have to learn to love yourself and parts of yourself that others are afraid of. When they choose only to see the scary in the night, and don’t connect you with owls and the moon and the dark grays, blues, purples of the night. When they don’t think of the sounds of grass and the cats in the dark.

When you have to learn to see the beauty where powerful others don’t even *notice* that beauty in you. Because they don’t look at you, or can’t even imagine you can be beautiful like they are. Or because they are afraid of one thing about you and they don’t see all the other sides to you that are like theirs, that *can* be beautiful.

When you have to point to the biggest, brightest light and tell people to see you just like that. When you have to point out the kindness, love, strength, weakness, endurance, impatience, fun, heat and love of your soul.

“My People”

The night is beautiful
So the faces of my people

The stars are beautiful
So the eyes of my people

Beautiful, also, is the sun.
Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people.

Langston Hughes

 

My Black Me: A Beginning Book of Black Poetry (A Puffin Poetry Book)
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Established in 1970, Glad Day Bookshop is the world’s oldest LGBTQ bookstore and Toronto’s oldest surviving bookstore. In 2012, a group of 23 community members pooled their funds and bought Glad Day Bookshop to save it from closing.

“Our best strategy for survival is adding new revenues streams like food and drink – which means a larger space.
We’ve picked out a great spot on Church Street that would allow us to be a bookstore & coffee shop during the day and a bar at night.
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When You Love What Do You Love? ¿Qué se ama cuando se ama? Gonzales Rojas. #Valentines #poetryisjustawesome

When You Love What Do You Love?

When you love what do you love, my God: terrible light of life
or death’s delight? What do you look for, what uncover, what
is it: love? And who? Woman with her depths, her roses, her volcanoes,
or this flushed sun, my furious blood
as I enter into her last roots?

Or is it all a great game, God, with no woman
or man but just one body: yours,
shared out in beauty-stars, in brief grains
of visible eternity?

It kills me, oh God, this war
of going and coming among them in the streets, unable to love
three hundred at a time, condemned as I am to one,
this one, this one alone, you gave me in that old paradise.

 

¿Qué se ama cuando se ama?

¿Qué se ama cuando se ama, mi Dios: la luz terrible de la vida
o la luz de la muerte? ¿Qué se busca, qué se halla, qué
es eso: amor? ¿Quién es? ¿La mujer con su hondura, sus rosas, sus volcanes,
o este sol colorado que es mi sangre furiosa
cuando entro en ella hasta las últimas raíces?

¿O todo es un gran juego, Dios mío, y no hay mujer
ni hay hombre sino un solo cuerpo: el tuyo,
repartido en estrellas de hermosura, en particular fugaces
de eternidad visible?

Me muero en esto, oh Dios, en esta guerra
de ir y venir entre ellas por las calles, de no poder amar
trescientas a la vez, porque estoy condenado siempre a una,
a esa una, a esa única que me diste en el viejo paraíso.

De Contra la muerte, 1964.

From: Pinholes in the Night, essential poems for Latin America. Selected by Raul Zurita, edited by Forrest Gander.

USED and NEW: Pinholes in the Night at Abebooks.com.

“How the World Began!”: the Story of Crow. Indigenous creation story as told by Angela Sidney! #NativeLivesMatter

The Story of Crow.

(This poem starts with a daughter so precious that her parents did not want to lose her, ao they protected her and even though many men wanted her hand in marriage, they said she was too good for them. They all waited, I imagine, for the right man. She is referred to as ‘that girl.’)

Crow wanted to be born— he wants to make the world!

So he made himself into a pine needle.
A slave always brings water to that girl and one time he gets water
.   with a pine needle in it.
She turns it down— make him get freshwater.
Again he brings it. Again a pine needle is there.
Four times he brings water and each time it’s there.
Finally she just give up— She spit that pine needle out and drink the
.   water.
But it blew into her mouth and she swallowed it.
Soon the girl is pregnant.

Her mother and daddy are mad.
Her mother asks, “Who’s that father?”

“No, I never knew a man,” she told her mother.

That baby starts to grow fast.
That girl’s father had the sun, moon, stars, daylight hanging in his
.   house.
He’s the only one that has them.
The world was all dark, all the time.
The child begged for them to play with.

Finally, the father gives his grandchild the sun to play with.
He rolls it around, plays with it, laughs, has lots of fun.
Then he rolls it to the door and out it goes!
“Oh!” he cries. He just pretends.
He cries because that sun is lost.

“Give me the moon to play with.”

They say no at first— like now, if a baby asks for the sun or moon you
.   say,
“That’s your grandfather’s fire.”

Finally, they gave it to him.

One by one they gave him the sun, moon, stars, daylight—
He loses them all.

“Where does she get the child from? He loses everything!”
That’s what her father says.

Then Crow disappears.
He has to things with him in the box.
He walks around— comes to a river.
Lots of animals there— fox, wolf, wolverine, mink, rabbit.
Everybody’s fishing…
That time animals all talk like people talk now—
The world is dark.

“Give me fish,” Crow says.
No one pay any attention.
“Give me fish or I’ll bring daylight!”
They laugh at him.

He’s holding a box… starts to open it and lets one ray out.
Then they pay attention!
He opens that books a bit more—they are scared!
Finally he opens that daylight box and threw it out.
Those animals scatter!
They hide in the bush and turn into animals like now.
Then the sun, moon, stars, and daylight come out.

“Go to the skies,” Crow says.
“Now no man owns it— it will be for everybody.”

He’s right, what he says that Crow.

After Crow made the world, he saw that sea lion owned the only island
. in the world.
The rest was water— he’s the only one with land.
The whole place was ocean!
Crawl rests on a piece of log— he’s tired.
He sees see lion with that little island just for himself.
He wants some land to so he stole that sea lion’s kid.

“Give me back that kid!” said sea lion.

“Give me beach, some sand,” says Crow.

So sea lion gave him sand.
Crow threw that sand around the world.
“Be World,” he told it. And it became the world.

After that, he walks around, flies around all alone.
He’s tired— he’s lonely— he needs people.
He took poplar tree bark. You know how it’s thick?
He carved it and then he breathed into i.

“Live!” he said, and he made a person.
He made Crow and Wolf to too.
At first they can’t talk to each other—
Crow man and woman are shy with each other— look away.
Wolf the same way too.

“This is no good,” he said. So we change that.
He made Crow man sit with Wolf woman.
And he made Wolf Man sit with Crow woman.
So Crow must marry Wolf and Wolf must marry Crow.

That’s how the world began.
.
.

“You tell what you know.
The way I tell stories is what I know.”

Angela Sidney.

.

.

As told by Angela Sidney in “Life Lived Like a Story: Life Stories of Three Yukon Native Elders.” By Julie Cruikshank, p. 42.

Library in Toronto: http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDM521988&R=521988

Order online:
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‪#‎IndigenousLivesMatter‬ ‪#‎WinterSolstice‬ ‪#‎WinterSolsticebonfire‬ ‪#‎AmINext‬

.

Start of story:
“One time there was a girl whose daddy is a very high man.
They kept her in her bedroom all the time—
Men try to marry her all the time, but they say no, she’s too good.”

Cavalry Way and After Reading Mickey In The Night Kitchen for the Third Time Before Bed.

Because The Oxford Anthology of African American Poetry is one of the best, most satisfying, fat books of poetry I have, you should go buy it too. Poets get paid and editors get paid and we get more poesie. This leads to joy.

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One sad, one happy poem.

Calvary Way

How did you feel, Mary,
Womb heavy with Christ Child,
Tasting the dust of uncertain journey?
Were you afraid?
When, winding the swaddling clothes,
You laid him in the manger,
Were you afraid?
Could you trace nail holes
Under his curling fingers,
Thorn pricks on the forehead?
Could you trace them?

I should bear a warm brown baby,
A new dark world of wonder;
But I fear the nails that pierce the spirit,
The unseen crosses.
How did you feel, Mary,
On the road beyond the star-lit manger,
Up to the hill to crucifixion?
Were you afraid?

May Miller

A graduate of Howard University; did graduate work at Columbia. Teacher of Speech and Dramatics in Baltimore schools.

 

After Reading Mickey In The Night Kitchen for the Third Time Before Bed 
Rita Dove

I’m the milk and the milk’s in me!… I’m Mickey!

My daughter spreads her legs
to find her vagina:
hairless, this mistaken
bit of nomenclature
is what a stranger cannot touch
without her yelling. She demands
to see mine and momentarily
we’re a lopsided star
among the spilled toys,
my prodigious scallops
exposed to her neat cameo.

And yet the same glazed
tunnel, layered sequences.
She is three; that makes this
innocent. We’re pink! 
she shrieks, and bounds off.

Every month she wants
to know where it hurts
and what the wrinkled string means
between my legs. This is good blood
I say, but that’s wrong, too.
How to tell her that it’s what makes us —
black mother, cream child.
That we’re in the pink
and the pink’s in us.

.

Thank you Wiki: From 1993 to 1995 she served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. She is the first African American Poet Laureate. Dove is the second African American to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1987). 2011 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama.

The documentary film Rita Dove: An American Poet by Argentinean-American filmmaker Eduardo Montes-Bradley premiered at the Paramount Theater (Charlottesville, Virginia) on January 31, 2014.

The annual “Rita Dove Poetry Award” was established by Salem College Center for Women Writers in 2004.

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