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Nose Dive into Poetry

July 31, 2016

I like to tease my girls that I cook to prove no one is perfect. Well, this month I took my imperfection to an entirely new level by trying my hand at poetry!

Specifically, I participated in an online poetry group, “Dive into Poetry,” hosted by the inimitable Jena Schwartz. Spurred by prompts and photographs, I spent the month of July writing and sharing poems among 49 strangers in a private Facebook group. The difference between these 49 strangers and me, however, was that they were bona fide poets, artists and bards! From the very first day, I was in constant awe of the poems flowing out of them like air out of lungs. Still, I challenged myself to at least try. And I did.

I share five of the resulting poems here to face my fear of failure. Am I proud of these poems? That’s beside the point. (Though truthfully I will admit that I hyperventilated each time I posted a new poem to the group and obsessed for hours afterward to see how many people liked or commented in relation to other poems/poets! Let’s just say that I was not a fan favorite…) As proud or not proud as I am of the poems themselves, I am proud of myself.

So to my daughters, whose creativity and imagination far outpaces my own, I say risk it. Risk it every time! Your ego might get bruised here and there, but art is not the domain of the ego; it is the domain of our imperfectly imperfect souls.

I

The future only lets you see
so far before 
it bends.
In between
 is up to me,
a space to
 begin again.
Where to go, I do not know,
or how or why
 or when.
So here I stay to sit while
among my human brethren.

II

What good are wings
when I’m not free to fly
but an oddly-shaped accessory?
Better to have wheels
round as the earth
grounded in reality.

III

I heard a story on the radio
about the creation of
our universe.
It seems matter and antimatter
had an epic battle,
in which each canceled the other out.
Antimatter annihilated matter;
matter annulled antimatter.
Yet somehow here we are:
living, breathing, feeling stardust.
The story said that
scientists are now studying this
stellar asymmetry in a lab,
so that someday we may know why
we matter more than we don’t.

IV

I do not know
how to bake a tree
or how to drink the sky.
These are things I want to learn,
at least I want to try.

Never have I
hugged the wind,
or given stars a bath.
I do not know the recipe,
I do not know the math.

So with my words,
I’ll knit a bird
to sing me back to life.
On my knees, I’ll beg and plead
to become her wedded wife.

She’ll say yes,
and off we’ll go
to the altar of our minds.
We’ll swim and dance and prance around,
we’ll dive into the blind.

Then I’ll know
how to pet the sun,
and braid the moon’s long hair.
Then I’ll know the way back home,
with poetry to share.

…and V

I’m 100% American
my blood red, white and blue.
Except for my heritage:
Irish, German, Sicilian too.

I’m 100% American,
of European descent.
Except for my DNA,
that shows where my ancestors went.

I’m 100% American
but also more than I knew.
I’m African, Middle Eastern,
even 2% European Jew.

I’m 100% American
with the whole world mixed through.
Oh, for fuck’s sake, I’m human
and so are you.