Bold

Famous

The river is famous to the fish.

 

The loud voice is famous to silence,

which knew it would inherit the earth

before anybody said so.

 

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds

watching him from the birdhouse.

 

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

 

The idea you carry close to your bosom

is famous to your bosom.

 

The boot is famous to the earth,

more famous than the dress shoe,

which is famous only to floors.

 

How to Triumph Like a Girl

I like the lady horses best,

how they make it all look easy,

like running 40 miles per hour

is as fun as taking a nap, or grass.

I like their lady horse swagger,

after winning. Ears up, girls, ears up!

But mainly, let's be honest, I like

that they're ladies. As if this big

dangerous animal is also a part of me,

that somewhere inside the delicate

skin of my body, there pumps

an 8-pound female horse heart,

giant with power, heavy with blood.

Don't you want to believe it?

The Young Poets of Winnipeg

scurried around a classroom papered with poems.

Even the ceiling, pink and orange quilts of phrase...

they introduced one another, perched on a tiny stage

to read their work, blessed their teacher who

encouraged them to stretch, wouldn’t let their parents

attend the reading because parents might criticize,

believed in the third and fourth eyes, the eyes in

the undersides of leaves, the polar bears a thousand miles north,

and sprouts of grass under the snow. They knew their poems

Theme for English B

The instructor said,

 

Go home and write

a page tonight.

And let that page come out of you —

Then, it will be true.

 

I wonder if it’s that simple?

I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem.

I went to school there, then Durham, then here

to this college on the hill above Harlem.

I am the only colored student in my class.

The steps from the hill lead down into Harlem,

from Exhibits from the American Water Museum

99.

From an original rock painting in Topock, Arizona, now digitized on a

wall-mounted monitor:

 

Before this city, the Creator pressed his staff

into the earth, and the earth opened—

 

it wasn’t a wound, it was joy—joy!—!

Out of this opening leaped earth’s most radical bloom: our people—

 

we blossoms from the original body: water,

flowering and flowing until it became itself, and we, us:

                                              River. Body.

 

Windrim

To Windrim or sycamore

           rustle cicada or bark and to Wayne

           to rustle and psoas and psoas to Belmont and Germantown hills

hills as to nearer Plateau as to Central and whisper wall Indian

summer to sleeves or the sleeveless groin as to forward

and dog shit and Cliveden to Wieland the whispering creek

as to Windrim

or mounting as Chestnut to backslid

the Juniper Schuylkill

           to boulder the pound to clover mite

vernal or rake as to tendon

exhaust of to Windrim and spare Wissahickon

Tinderbox

We were a conflagration asking

to be incarnated into the world.

Mother, superstitious, kept us

apart, two stones of the same

igneous anger.

 

Everyone saucered tears

like firetrucks before a plane crash,

as if preparing, should we combust.

Mother had once hidden

all the nooses, knocking

all hanging hooks from our ceiling,

the other family hid the tinder and wood,

crying flame-retardant

for the walls.

 

Your palm prints have returned

as shingles around my left eye.

Other

1

 

Men prefer an island

With its beginning ended:

Undertones of waves

Trees overbended.

 

Men prefer a road

Circling, shell-like

Convex and fossiled

Forever winding inward.

 

Men prefer a woman

Limpid in sunlight

Held as a shell

On a sheltering island…

 

Men prefer an island.

 

2

 

But I am mainland

O I range

From upper country to inner core:

From sageland, brushland, marshland

Start here: