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Day 10: The Aftermath

You can’t write poems

about my breasts or body

and call it haiku

Day 9: Fundraiser Shame

My friend rides a scooter in place of legs

Her cane is a tool, but the function

does not replace the agony of standing pain

When her scooter failed, she held a fundraiser

In less than a day

she had more money than she asked for

You can imagine her surprise

when a so-called “friend”

called to say the friendship was over

Her “friend” brought up every purchase

the brand-name purse

two computers in one house

a wig

As if a disabled, middle-class writer

needs to justify every luxury

every necessity

every penny requested and earned

The conversation ended

but her words lingered

judging her for

requesting help

asking for money

Women aren’t supposed to ask for anything

especially not

working-class, disabled women of color

I say

ask for the moon

ask for a scooter

ask for whatever

your heart desires

Fuck anyone who says you shouldn’t

They are no friend to anyone

least of all

someone amazing as you

Day 8: Easter is a Time for Lust

I’ve never celebrated Easter in traditional ways

Never chased a white rabbit

nor plucked candy from blades of grass

Never crowed over a basket filled

with sugary treats in pastel colors

When I was promoted a few years back

I spent the weekend at Red Roof Inn

cavorting with Blue, a lover twice my age

who got his name at Burning Man

We ate sushi

rented a twenty-four porn film package

drank vodka and rum and coke

sending Blue back and forth to the ice machine

had sex enough times that we lost count

We laughed at the

former Jehovah’s Witness and a Jew

sex-soaked Easter and shellfish to boot

This year, on a first date in Baltimore

I brought his favorite Easter candy

He yanked the check away at an Indian buffet

kissed me soundly among the bookstacks

I do not believe the Lord has risen

but I have

Day 7: My First Haiku

Queer feminist book

Story of sex and gender

is radical love

Day 6 - Unbidden Memory

When I was 12, all I wanted was to see TITANIC

I asked, begged, pleaded and cajoled

to no avail

Then one Sunday evening

after the meeting at Greenbelt Kingdom Hall

He said I could go

with him and his stepdaughter

I could hardly sit still as he asked my mom

who (finally) said okay

It’s strange to remember a time

when you were trusted

a family friend with good intentions

taking Joan’s daughter to the movies

harmless

In my head, I divide the time:

before the rape

after the rape

before I told

after I told

The movie was before

A time when I envisioned

my first sexual experience as

gentle hands

soft words

requesting permission

A time when I could be Rose

Day 5 - Camus

They called him the handsome one

brooding, sad, lofty

At the end of the second World War

as his colleague spoke jubilation

taking a brave female lover’s

words for his own byline

(Sartre, I’m looking at you)

Camus wrote with trepidation

talking of responsibility, slowness

humanity in despair

this from the man who wrote another man

killing a third man on the beach

because the sun was in his eyes

because there was no reason

and reason was absurd, no?

Camus was the Bogart of the group

telling his friends to play it cool with women

He didn’t have to try hard

to keep his dance card full

I picture the novelist

and would-be journalist

telling others how to say

the things they needed to say

a conductor for existential thoughts

Day 4: I missed yesterday’s deadline, so I’m posting a poem I wrote last month

Talking to you is the baseball

flying toward Peter Banning’s head

jogging my junk-tified memory

I had forgotten

everything

that mattered

I forgot because

loneliness was reassuring in

ways your absence wasn’t

I remember now:

You expect women to solve

all the problems

that keep you from

wholeness

adulthood

But remembering is

freedom in my limbs

muscle memory turned to flight

my head sore but sure

this time

it was right

it was true

I laugh and cradle my head

close to the water

                                          In Memory of Shaima Alawadi
 
Shaima Alawadi 
thirty-two years old,
housewife in El Cajon
a California mother of five
found by her teenage daughter
beaten unconscious
drowned in blood
with a note:
“Go back to your own country. You’re a terrorist.”
 
They left a note on your house the week before
You dismissed it as a childish prank
You did not call the police
Could you even have imagined
a world of kicked-in doors and
tire-iron swipes to your precious head?
 
Her death is an act of terrorism
Violence against women of color is an act of terrorism
Violence at the hands of white supremacy is an act of terrorism
 
Shaima,
your name means good-natured
I imagine you walking in California sunshine
holding your babies
laughing with your daughter
Your killers took nothing from your home
except what could not be replaced
 
There are no answers for Fatima
as she clutches tissue
sunglasses hiding her tears
speechless at her mother’s innocence
no comfort, no justice
She calls the killers
animals without a God

                                          In Memory of Shaima Alawadi

 

Shaima Alawadi 

thirty-two years old,

housewife in El Cajon

a California mother of five

found by her teenage daughter

beaten unconscious

drowned in blood

with a note:

“Go back to your own country. You’re a terrorist.”

 

They left a note on your house the week before

You dismissed it as a childish prank

You did not call the police

Could you even have imagined

a world of kicked-in doors and

tire-iron swipes to your precious head?

 

Her death is an act of terrorism

Violence against women of color is an act of terrorism

Violence at the hands of white supremacy is an act of terrorism

 

Shaima,

your name means good-natured

I imagine you walking in California sunshine

holding your babies

laughing with your daughter

Your killers took nothing from your home

except what could not be replaced

 

There are no answers for Fatima

as she clutches tissue

sunglasses hiding her tears

speechless at her mother’s innocence

no comfort, no justice

She calls the killers

animals without a God

Day 2: The Countdown

172 days,

14 books,

and 2 albums

since the last time I said

your name and words of love

since the last time you said

my name and words of

indifference

calculated to make us both

move in another direction

I kept my feet firmly planted

I let the morning’s tears

mark a new day

I let the evening’s shadow

draw a curtain of

silence

Even as I checked to see

what 140-character missive

you had shared in the hours between

I told my friends it was over

I told my mother I missed you

I told you nothing

There isn’t going to be

a time in which you open

the petals and release

pheromones of truth

There is only

the broken stem

shoots of a new harvest

It took so long to remember

that I left long before

you bid me goodbye

It took so long to forget

the ways in which you mistook

love for codependence

friendship for the empty bowl

I could not fill you

and neither will she

I know that now

and there is nothing

to say

But I open the curtains

Let in the light

libraryland:

April is National Poetry Month!

An inspiring image for Day 2!

libraryland:

April is National Poetry Month!

An inspiring image for Day 2!