Tuesday, May 26, 2015

"The Making of a Prophet" by Corey Van Landingham

THE MAKING OF A PROPHET by Corey Van Landingham, from Antidote

            for Adrienne Rich

Keep it small   they said   Keep it small
or the city will form a mouth   Be careful
not to say mouth   or world   Don’t say
body   Drink your coffee   Fuck it
There are gum wrappers on the sidewalk
that reflect all those predator drones
You can almost see them see you   You
flip your hair   You preen   You touch
yourself but you can never see them   They
can always see you   There is a room
full of men making anything possible   It is
the loneliest thing   making up worlds  
Watching others live their little lives   Keep
it small   the men are telling you   Wave to
the sky   No   to a bird you are no longer
allowed to name   and may no longer exist  
You’ve been selected for a very particular
task   All you have to do is talk and talk
and talk and not say anything at all   This
should be easy   They say that   too

Monday, May 11, 2015

Ascension                   by Elmaz Abinader, from This House, My Bones (2014)

                                    For Mahmud Darwish

What do exiles do but continue to walk
in countries where they were not born?

And when they leave are their ghosts alone,
Wandering routes river to home to horizon?

Breath   visible   from the cold of death
I call you to smoke and   vapor


We search for the lost through shards of cement
a crusty coffee cup impossible to read.

The cities are homes as much as they are tombs
you draw the map, a longitude of loss

The names of the storytellers will be catalogued
next to saints, teachers, revolutionaries, and bread makers


How many times can your heart break?
How many ways is writing a surgery?

Mahmud, is it too much to hold
I stand in the square and call for you

You pierce the voices of this city—

the sky over Ramallah is refrain.