I’m thankful for the feedback I’m receiving in various places from folks. I hope this means the manuscript is headed in the right direction. I have been thinking about how to incorporate “less poetic” narratives in with the more easily identifiable poetic diction, because of what I’d previously written about similar stories being told in different languages. This manuscript has been, for the most part, enjoyable. Writing poems again! Lots! Being crafty! Letting it be both intense and fun.
I also really like having the space, so many pages (and volumes) to tell these stories; I know my tendency when I was much younger was to try to be as sweeping and inclusive, to rush and cram everything — Everything! Centuries of colonialism and resistance into a single poem. And for me, that made some clunky, muddled, and didactic work. I guess at the time, I just never knew if I would be able to write another poem worth mention and performance. I also felt everything had to hit you in the face. These days, I prefer the creeping uneasiness, the lingering disturbed feeling, the images and words that won’t leave your mind, long after you’re heard or read the poem(s).
Anyway. Thanks for reading, following me through this process. I’m self-conscious that I’m talking about the work I’m doing again (those of you who don’t know me personally must get the impression I’m inflexibly single-minded), though this is better than talking about the work I mean to do later, soon, some time. So then, more excerpts:
How do you love? With sunken belly, we erupt This is a hard question – With stretch marks, we span Formerly doting, overworked, With blistered mouth, we spill I have been absent a lot, With callused knees, we give Forgetful, and with regret.
How do you love? With razorblade eyes With too much water With animal teeth We sometimes kill With splintered hands With too much life With ribcage unlocked We wither your roots
Who is your mother? She has had terrible taste in lovers – I love her, They have left her, they have beat her, I hate her, They have beat me. There are scars. I love her, For her deadbeat husbands, her children, I wish Her cousins, her maids, she spends I could be Everything, until there is nothing left. More grateful.
What is the song of your home? We bought it with winnings from keno, These are Sorrowful Mysteries – My illegitimate brothers tried to sue. The Agony in the Garden, My mother and her gambling whims; To scourge, to crown, She claimed property as the best way, To carry, and to crucify. To play as if living a Monopoly game, To bear trial, to pardon injury To boast her American Dream attained. These are Spiritual Fruits.