Friday, March 11, 2016

Sand Opera Lenten Journey Day 31: New Heavens and a New Earth + Craig Santos Perez

Sand Opera Lenten Journey Day 31: New Heavens and a New Earth + Craig Santos Perez

Thus says the LORD:
Lo, I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
The things of the past shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness
in what I create…
--Isaiah 61

With every new life, there is a new heaven and a new earth, and yet how quickly these new lives are baptized into our human unhappinesses—not only their own hunger and thirst and pain, but also the burden of history and man’s inhumanity to man. How can we, through them, these babies, bring Isaiah’s vision to life, where there is a lightness and joy in all that we have and create?

From “Hung Lyres” (Sand Opera)


She asks: is that man crying
or singing?  How should I answer? 

War takes him in its fingers,
raises his body, a punctured bone

flute, to its lips, and breathes
the living dust
                        to dust alone—

this is the air we scull
air of ancestors & ashpits 

just five, the child’s baptized into this
            she corrects the voices

she hears butcher
the name of the country she’s never

seen—it’s “ear-rock,”
not “eye-rack.”

From “understory” by Craig Santos Perez

(to my wife, nālani
and our 7-month old daughter, kai)

kai cries
from teething--
how do
new parents
comfort a
child in
pain, bullied
in school,
shot by
a drunk
APEC agent?
nālani gently
massages kai's
gums with
her fingers-
how do
we wipe
away tear--
gas and
blood? provide
shelter from
snipers? disarm
occupying armies?
nālani sings
to kai
a song
about the
Hawaiian alphabet--
what dreams
will echo
inside detention
centers and
cross teething
borders to
soothe the
thousands of
children atop
la bestia?
nālani rubs
kai's back
warm with
coconut oil--
how do
we hold
violence at
arm's length
when raising
[our] hands
up is
no longer
a universal
sign of
surrender? #black
kai finally
falls asleep
in nālani's
cradling arms,
skin to
skin against
the news--
when do
we tell
our daughter
there's no
safe place
for us
to breathe #...

From Hawai'i Review special online issue, Write for Ferguson. With special thanks to editors Anjoli Roy and No'u Revilla. Used with permission.


Maureen said...

What a beautifully written poem by Craig Santos Perez. And how devastating.

I think of all the children throughout our world who are mistreated, abused, denied education, unfed, without medical care, seen their parents arrested, or forced to leave everything behind . . . every day they are denied safe passage toward coming of age. I don't have any good answers.

Philip Metres said...

I love Craig's poem as well!