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Mindful Poetry Virtual Gathering #5

Posted April 29, 2020 in News Articles

This week we listen and contemplated Brad Aaron Modlin's "What You Missed That Day You Were Absent from Fourth Grade". We were joined by Troy Bronsink of The Hive who led our opening meditation and Poet Brad Aaron Modlin himself, who facilitated the poem reading and response. (Due to a technical mishap the session's recording is not available.)

As this was our final gathering we are interested in continuing on in a similar format. We will share once we have details solidified and please join our newsletter to stay in the know.

Response Poems

In The Stew
By Holly Brians Ragusa

We didn’t hear the words then
That we hear now.
Those sounds got lost in the soup served up on
Sundays and slopped onto individual trays
Held in school lunch lines
Standing behind others
Beings who sucked other bits
From the stew of their knowing
Pieces we could not swallow
In places we never stood
Still we walk that time together
Waiting in lines promising to bring us
Closer
Hearing the same dinner bells
Calling on us to show up
To remember we are expected
Asking us to raise our hand when answers are in
Short supply
We are elemental at our shared table
Dug into the earth deep with hunger
Feeding on the resources we peeled and cut and gathered
From ourselves

untitled
By: Deb Daniel

My teacher explained how
all the people in the world
could line up, hold hands, and
circle our globe twice over.

Except
People kept dropping out of the line
falling by the roadside
shriveling up,
And nobody would take their place in line
and nobody would get their lunch
from the cafeteria.


we learned it anyways
by Lena Sclove

No one taught me that I can handle way more intensity of emotion than my mom every thought I could.

No one taught you that your heart will break but not shatter and you will heal but not mend, but it will be enough to start anew.

No one taught me that you might need me the way I need you, and that is okay, I won't always need you the way I need you now.

No one taught me that dancing in the woods is medicine and it can't be prescribed, it can only be discovered.

No one taught you that its okay to need people, and its also okay to need their absence.

No one taught me that reading can be meditation and meditation can be torture and also bliss and it just depends on which part of myself I am blended with.

No one taugh you that writing would save you.

No one taugh me that writing would save me.

No one taught us that wheneber we stopped writing, we would start again. No one taugh us that we are forgetful but can use tools to remember the essences we long to hold on to. No one taught us that there are so many different ways to be smart. No one taught us that sometimes bravery looks like curling up in the fetal position and crying. No one taught us that there is so much relief in laying it all down for a moment, surrending, saying "I need help," and then listening to the fullness of silence.

No one taught us...But somehow, we learned it anyways.


Worrying the Knot
by Lauren Sharpe

We are all in this together,
we always have been, even before.

Some are safe
Some have run away
Some sit with the truth
Some ride the subway
towards certain danger
every morning.

We are all in this together.
We pray we won’t get that one phone call.

We wake up every day and, if we remember,
give thanks for our own body, allergy-ridden,
but fever free.

We are all in this together.
We are thinking beyond words.
The tangle of our thoughts is like a delicate gold chain, impossibly knotted.

We are all in this together
and there is no good place to put the scream.

I’ll just leave it here instead.


What I Know Now
by Amani Elkassabany

No one taught you that it was okay to have long conversations
at the dinner table.
That you could leave the dirty dishes alone for awhile and say
what you were thinking.

No one taught that your legs and arems were beautiful.
That, in third grade, a valentine from Woodrow didn't mean
you had to stop talking to boys.

No one taught you that you could move your hips
when you heard music,
That the taste of laughter was sweeter than a Jolly Rancher,
richer than brownies.

No one taught you that we need four hugs a day to survive.
Eight to maintain our health.
Twelve to thrive.
Sternum to sternum for twenty seconds.

We are all in this together.

We all smile back when a child smiles at us.
We all yearn to hear a friend's familiar laugh,
to feel a lover's embrace.

We want to gather around the table,
to sit across from one another and do more
than just chew and swallow
our mashed potatoes.


No One Taught You
By: Anna Martinez-Amos

No one taught you then that
We are all in this together
That we are all less than we aspire to
That we are each more than enough
That sometimes taking in a breath is enough.
"I am" is a complete sentence, remember?
We all breathe in the molecules
Of the same spectacular universe
And exhale molecules
From our spectacular selves
To become the universe.


Save/Trash
By: Hannah Conti

I save the things
I already forgot
and remember the things
I wish I hadn’t thrown in the
recycling bin.
Your crinkled letter,
dripping in manipulation,
unrealized, impossible threats.
Her emails
of song lyrics sung 90 years ago
by my then-young
ancestor,
the words now lost to
cyberspace trash.
The rock I dropped
in the handful
of dirt I placed on your coffin,
buried under time.
The perfect letter I did not send
the words written
in the wrinkles around my eyes.


"Perhaps We Could Save Ourselves Tomorrow"
By Isti Toq'ah

No one taught me then that it's okay to feel happy and sad in the same time.
We are all in this together now without having choice because we never imagined
that one day there would be something / someone like this virus that didn't choose / discriminate us based on our identity (our gender, our color, our nation, our age,
our social status, etc.). And somehow now this makes us even harder to stay sane.

No one taught me then that it's okay to not know sometimes or most of the times.
We are all in this together now without knowing whether time would help to answer
our question or would help to solve the problem of this virus.

No one taught me then that it's okay to have no solution for all problems which
often some problems likely to not be called as problems.
We are all in this together now without feeling sure about anything every day which
teaches us the best lesson by force that what matters most is now, is present time,
is being present mindfully because that's all we have right now, that's all we can do
right now, that's all we can rescue right now to assist us digest this uncertainty
certainly without vomiting and to save us from overwhelming future that often
makes us insane.

If we could save ourselves to stay sane today, perhaps we could save ourselves
tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, next week, or probably next month too.


untitled
By: Troy Bronsink

you broke your adolescent ankle by falling,
while sneaking out of your afternoon window to avoid chores
and, after being reset, and cast in plaster, or whatever they started using when you
were
that age,you sat the season out.

no one taught you then
that you could love you mother without feeling understood by her
that your own teenager would need parental nudges,
to truly remember to anchor her life in what she wants most
or that, like baking a cake, each decision you make
will eventually make its way to the latrine—back to the earth

one turns left to get to… oro
ne turns right to out of…

no matter,
we all have to put our mouths and lungs and hands somewhere
we all have to put our trust down, somehow
we all have to watch our precious, old futures
fall off the embracing roof
of it all.