dear jamie, if you read to the end of this entry you will see that i've included a poem i want you to read.
and when i say that children are miracles of god i mean something like this:
the fact that you know a person for two years- two whole years go by and you interact with her, laugh, play games, run, sing, smile, you see her every day, two sets of seasons come and go- two whole years of knowing! and then one day, out of nowhere: she speaks to you! whole words come from her mouth, whole words in sentences even, and its like you've heard her voice for the first time after TWO YEARS! i don't think i could explain to anyone how amazing this is- but now that i've been at this center for two years and the babies i knew when i first started are begining to speak fluently, it blows me away. it is the most sacred, profound experience i have ever been witness to, ever, EVER, above ANYTHING in my life, and it bowls me over like earthquakes and sunshine through trees and every good and holy thing i have ever felt or done or said. she espescially likes to shout, "no james!" and point and laugh when i sing silly songs. (she's probably been waiting a while to get THAT one out.)
or what about this- an infant at five weeks can barely see beyond 12 inches in front of his face. can you imagine that? twelve inches and then beyond that a fog. imagine what a face must look like, swimming out of that to you with comfort and love. imagine what it would be like now, if suddenly one moment you realized that everything you had ever seen was a fog, and the thing you wanted most to see came out of it to you like someone parting a viel.
ALSO, my two proposals for workshops to NAEYC's annual conference were FREEEEGIN ACCEPTED because i ROCK THE HOUSE and the words "I think you'd be perfect for our PhD program" came out of someone's mouth today and were directed at MOI.
so, with that, i give you two poems. one, is not a poem, it only looks like one, and it is actually a letter, and should be read like a letter. it is by me, but less by me than it is by the voices of some other poets i am reading right now. i wrote it last night when i was tired. the last is by pablo neruda, and it is for jamie.
it seems to me that you have
chosen for yourselves
the perfect symbol
which is the cross
because it seems to me that all you do
is go about trying to kill
so that GOD has to keep
going about ressurecting him
being patient and kind
as he is
it seems to me that christians
know well how to take a beautiful thing
which is the word of GOD
and kill it not only
but maime it
and maime it
and maime it
and maime it until you are redintheface
however well gilded
the 24-karat tool may be.
GOD pateint and kind reminds us
"that JESUS is in all beautiful things
but not limited to
the way boys kiss each other
as expansive as the catalogue is
you keep wanting to FUCK IT UP
and you're only wearing yourselves thin
or haven't you learned yet
from the seed
that everything you bury
just gets up
Ode with a Lament
by Pablo Neruda
translated by Clayton Eshleman
Oh girl among roses, oh pressure of doves,
oh garrison of fish and rosebushes,
your soul is a bottle full of thirsty salt
and a bell full of grapes is your skin.
I have nothing, alas, to give you but fingernails
or eyelashes or molten pianos,
or dreams frothing from my heart,
dust dreams racing like black horsemen,
dreams full of velocity and misfortune.
Looking at ash-colored horses and yellow dogs,
I can only love you with poppies and kisses,
with garlands drenched by the rain.
I can only love you with waves at my shoulder,
between vague blows of sulpher and brooding water,
swimming against the cemeteries flowing down certain rivers,
wet fodder growing over the sad plaster tombs,
swimming across submerged hearts
and the pallid birth certificates of dug-up children.
There is so much death, so many funerals
in my abandoned passions, my desolate kisses,
there is a water falling on my head,
while my hair grows,
a water like time, a liberated black water
with a nocturnal voice, with a cry
of birds in the rain, with an interminable
shadow of damp wings protecting my bones:
while I dress, while
interminably I stare at mirrors, at windowpanes,
I hear someone pursue me calling me
sobbing in a voice rotted by time.
You are standing on the earth, full
of lightning and teeth.
You spread kisses and murder ants.
You weep from health, from onions, from bees,
from a burning alphabet.
You are like a blue and green sword
and undulate to my touch like a river.
Come to my soul dressed in white, with a branch
of blood-smeared roses, and goblets of ashes,
come with an apple and a horse—
for here there is a dark parlour, a broken candelabrum,
some warped chairs waiting for winter,
and a pigeon dead, with a number.