A POEM A DAY

I'm just happy to be here.

Tag: stream of consciousness

20/30: BIG MAC

I meet a guy at the Walmart Neighborhood Market on Belfort and Gessner who says his name is Mac, but people call him Big Mac, so Big Mac asks what I’m about and what I do while we both stood in the parking lot after discussing the cooking failures caused by empty propane tanks, laughing off backyard disasters when I finally tell him I’m about to finish law school, and how I’m almost a lawyer, and that’s when he stops me, that’s when interrupts my sentence like a cloud passing over the sun, and he says no you are a lawyer, you have to say it, for it to be true. Put it out there. Big Mac pulls the doubt out my mouth like a spare thread on the sleeve of my dreams, and I unravel into my grocery bags and both my hands are carrying my gratitude for this afternoon’s agent of kindness reminding me to let the good word be heard, and we shake hands and part ways like old friends, and once I return to my car, I rejoice in who I’ve become, how the world is run by none of us but we all choose to participate in fate, even when I’m late to the learning, life delivers me from my mistakes, and this is a lesson I take home with me Thursday afternoon like a ticket stub I keep on the wall in my room

18/30: A POEM FOR LIZ

On the kitchen counter, I remember your hands
rolling dough for dumplings, the egg disappearing
into flour, your knuckles rolling yolk, perfect trick.
The chicken simmering in the broth next to you.
The dough, though unfinished, forms in your hands.
A single mother making dinner for her boys, and me.
Your boys, my friends, other brothers, create mischief
in the distance, shaking the plates on your walls.
Then, there is me, next to you in the kitchen, listening.
The smell of love has a noise, and you are a symphony.
It is the weekend, where boys like me escape into trees,
run down dark streets, tease the moon, spoon ice cream
until a river has formed down my wrist, licking my skin.
How wild the nights were when all I had to do was exist.
Sleep, always, a plot twist, as we tried our hardest to remove
any evidence that shows we broke our promises to you.
We spent summer afternoons diving into pools with
sandwiches in our backpacks, a snack to keep us safe.
We started camp fires and crawled rocks to jump off cliffs,
your sons, brave, me, afraid, wanting to disprove the truth
that Mexicans were natural fishes in water, but at the same time,
needing to prove I too could jump into the deep blue,
angling my body, pointing my toes, trying my best to perform
The Pencil Dive, hoping the end of me would touch the bottom
of the lake, this untouchable place I could make my own
If I just knew how to hold my breath right. Returning
was a gift I never knew how to make, only unwrap, which
is why I roam below til’ my breath billows bubbles,
sending signals above the surface like letters back home.
How you taught me to pursue without losing myself.
I did not know how to raise the boy in me like bread.
But I still remember sitting down to eat on Sunday,
my mother on her way, and me, eating Chicken and Dumplings
you made from scratch, the flour still in full bloom around
the room. I follow the steam, blow over the broth, watch my breath
turn into a lesson, a seed growing into a tree, a scared boy
growing into a man, that man, growing into me.

5/30: THAT VIOLENT BUSINESS

“…woe is translatable to joy if light
becomes darkness and darkness light,
as it will—“
-William Carlos Williams

On the day of the spring equinox,
I fed myself strawberries, ate black plums,
someone called me handsome and I hummed
to myself in the kitchen.

A quick note on the black plums:
the first time, I grabbed one was an accident
had to be the summer before last
the one I spent alone in my apartment
baffled by want, a linguist lost in love’s speeches,
studying for four months to take a test
so I could go to school for three more years
then take another test at the end of it. Anyways.
That next season, I read a poem out loud
to three other English majors in my Modernism class
about stolen plums, the deceptive sweetness
of language, the immediate contact with the present,
the need to reach through with what is wholly you,
and in that moment, the poet comes to know
the image is more useful
than what it represents & that’s what I’m saying!
I bite into a black plum not by my lonesome
but swirling with significance, a cloud of moments,
the long day stretched out like a highway
I cannot help but get stuck in the traffic
of my own imagination, impavid and impatient
& imagine me humming a number
equal parts lovely and somber, with plum breath
and the confidence of a compliment.
I think of all the mouths I let on my flesh,
eyes closed and touch filled with expiration,
like they expect the sweetest thing in season,
hoping for a brief revival just by holding my body, and
how this explains their reason for leaving, because who doesn’t understand
pleasure, who doesn’t eat a plum on the first day of spring
and throw the pit in the garbage, forgetting forgiveness,
you know, that violent business.