Monday, April 23, 2007

Poem: Wanda Coleman

Soooo much reading, always....

Today 9 US soldiers were killed by a suicide bomber in Diyala Province in Iraq, more than 20 were wounded, as were a number of Iraqis. Every day, scores of Iraqis are slain, many more injured. The war inn Afghanistan continues as well. Just as many people took time out to remember the students who were slaughtered at Virginia Tech, we should take time out to remember those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. We should also thank the politicians who are serious about getting our troops out of the former quagmire.

To see's VideoVets Project, which presents the stories of Iraq veterans and their families in their voices, click here.

My brain is tired, so instead of something more thoughtful about the troop deaths, the war, the Gonzales-Rove Attorneygate crisis, the reappearance of Abramoffia, the disappearance of the honeybees, the ongoing massacres in Darfur, sun in Jersey City or rain in Chicago, Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald's, Boris Yeltsin's or David Halberstam's deaths, or the voting mess that marked Nigeria's recent elections, or the first round of the presidential vote in France, which portends a Sarkozy victory in the second round, here's a brief poem, by Wanda Coleman, a Los Angeles-based poet one should read periodically because of what she can do with form, voices, and daily experience. Once I received a mysterious mailing urging me to buy several of her books--but I already had the ones on the sheet. I wondered if Coleman had sent it to me herself, and thought I should write her back and initiate a correspondence. But I didn't. I keep thinking that I'll meet her at some point and hear her read her work live and finally express my appreciation in person and talk with her. Some day. Fate, get to work.

--After Robert Duncan

my earliest dreams linger/wronged spirits
who will not rest/dusky crows astride
the sweetbriar seek to fly the
orchard's sky. is this the world i loved?
groves of perfect oranges and streets of stars
where the sad eyes of my youth
wander the atomic-age paradise


the blood of a stark and wounded puberty?
o what years ago? rapture lost in white
heat of skin/walls that patina my heart's
despair? what fear disturbs my quiet
night's grazing? stampedes my soul?

o memory. i sweat the eternal weight of graves

from American Sonnets © 1994 by Wanda Coleman, Woodland Pattern Book Center and Light and Dusk Books, Wisconsin

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