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Month: June 2016

Forever 21

One day after my eleventh birthday,
I walked home to see my mother ringed
by aunts in the kitchen, all crying.
An aunt sent me up to my bedroom.

Three days later, I witnessed
my older brother lowered into the earth.
I was never told how he died.
It didn’t seem my place to ask.

Leo, they said, was on the cusp of greatness.
Handsome and daring and courageous.
He sounded to my boy’s ears
many times my father’s better.

Years later, my older cousin assured me
that my brother was no suicide,
as a neighbor (whose son had taken his life)
had suggested. It was a terrible accident.

He was twenty-one and at law school and
just beginning to ascend. Something in me
always rejoiced that he didn’t live to midlife
with weekend golf outings and a beer belly.

He remains framed forever at twenty-one.
A portrait upon which anyone who knew him
can hang whatever hopes and dreams
they learned to give up on, onto him.

 

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From the Editor’s Desk

Flaxen hair? No, no.
And strike the blue eyes.
Doesn’t sound right.

Boy she’s a beauty
and her family like
a soap commercial.

So here, remove these,
increase the heading
put it left, page one.

I’m thinking Promising.
Wasn’t she a top student
or athlete or something?

Well, Popular, then, use that.
And this other one, the girl
about a year younger?

The North Side girl, right.
Wasn’t that gang related?
A bystander? Terrible.

Put her in Metro, OK?
See if you can get a photo
a better photo for this girl.

I don’t know. Bystander
Killed by Gang on North Side?
Play with that a little, OK?

 

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Poet’s Notes:

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The original draft image for this poem is below:

From the Editor's Desk

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Dignity

Her dress was Caribbean
possibly Jamaican
though maybe from the islands
or deep down Trinidad.

Her skin had a sheen and
her hair was braided
tightly round her head and
she spoke dignity.

She simply announced
dignity in her posture
dignity in her stride
without saying a word.

 

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Poet’s Notes:

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The image for this poem can be seen at www.poemaweek.com

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The Discarded

I take comfort in the dinged up
in dented discarded stuff
that nobody seems to want
chucked into a bin in the
very back of the supermarket
or set on the curb or stoop
wearing a forlorn note.

They are always useable
never beyond hope
and unpretentious.
They want for attention
and do not find desperation
to be a foreign matter
as the perfect always do.

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Poet’s Notes:

If you feel strongly about this poem, leave a comment below.
The image for this poem can be seen at www.poemaweek.com

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