Posted April 20, 2022 in News Articles
This week for Mindful Poetry Moments we gathered to listen and contemplate the poem "On the Last Day of the Semester, the Library Is So Crowded with Raucous Historical and Literary Figures It’s Hard to Tell People Apart" by Brad Aaron Modlin. Rana Dotson opened our time with a meditation and Brad Aaron Modlin, poet and educator, led the reading and response. (You can watch the full recording here and read the full transcript here.)
Community Response Poems
by Wade Hopkins
Mr Toad leans in and whispers to me
(At least he believes it a whisper)
That you cannot be too concerned about whatever is said "In there"
I lean in close and bellow, "Out here too, old fellow. Out here too."
Preening in the sunshine, the Rat explains
how along the Riverbank, one greets absence with silent acceptance.
Staring into the sky, I sing of raindrops on a spring day.
And precious, precious Moley reminds me that
Dolce Domum is never far beyond the tip of my nose.
And I remind the Mole that never is ever if you're only looking outside.
And the terrible, terrible, wide world.
That it IS, most certainly, much, too much.
by Sarah Pinho
He is antsy
a voice tells him, “Run!”
He runs himself spent
His eyelids droop
soft blankets embrace him
He awakens alone
warm arms reach for him
He is antsy
crayons surface on a mini table
Her eyes seek out the wisdom
of his imagination
On the page:
Dad, sister, him
Where is she?
Her breath catches.
I lean in and whisper:
You are the skin he wears
the air he breathes.
You are his consciousness itself.
Why would he think a crayon could contain you?
“The Red Tent”
Inspired by The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
by Maureen Medina
Dinah leans in and whispers
The power in her
Embodies the duality of women as
Coveted creators of life and
Those whose life does not belong to them
Virgins or whores
The narrative favors the storyteller
You defend our honor
Because you’ve made it your own
Obey your mother
Protect your sister
Love them at all costs
We still haven’t learned
Freedom can’t be bought
And what to do with your
Lovers and wives,
The mother of your children?
Their value changes with
More than bloodshed
It’s a massacre
How they mutilate
Though you are bound to your
Our truth is absolute
And that is,
We are free.
Meditations on seeing through the Eyes of Howard Thurman’s wife (first draft)
by: Troy Bronsink
Sue Bailey leans in and whispers to me
“Howard didn’t always consent, but those eyes of his told me he wanted to.
When we took boats and trains and buses to sit with Gandhi,
he was nervous and eager, entering the silk embroidered cotton tents
and with shoes off
the nerve center of his consent was visible, even to the small hindu man who asked us
to sing amazing grace.
Were we weighed down by knowing whether what you really want would be really possible
like you are?
I don’t think so.
When we moved to San Francisco, was his laughter hubris or healthy sense of humor?
Its hard to hear the genuine when at the end of the strings of movers,
new landlords, and universities.
Its easy to forget the genuine when I remember I’m a second wife,
but I believed it would come with us, he believed
that the sound of the genuine would be there too, in the fellowship of all people.
Dear Mrs. Bailey
when you sat in those hard library chairs researching the black history of the West
were you, too, tired that so little would be read?
Were you, too, tired of being compared to his voice?
Were you, too, wrestling to find your genuine, in the presence of his?
Tell me what home meant for you,
following him from Home to home to home.
Tell me, again, why you met with all those students?
So many faces, black, white and brown.
Like the dark face of the cashier at UDF
generous to my large white male body
through a smile on warm days, or an eye role
about colleagues and customers on another.
Quiet without eye contact on days of hardship or private work.
What is genuine
if not the hand on a peanut butter milkshake
handing and receiving,
holding the everydayt
rying when we can, with hubris or humor,
to give the fluid area of our consent to what whatever we’ve got right in front of us?
Tribute to Grey
by Benjamin Bagocius
Maine. The rocks
sharp and luminous
with wet. Waves wild
The sun is not out
The clouds are
Grey gets its chance
to be beautiful
Grey is softer than light,
softer than dark
Grey allows everything
to be spectacular
The wind can be itself
It pushes me
like a cousin
who loves me
so much it doesn’t know
The wind flings its arm
around my shoulders
like a sister who has
just run up to me panting
Of Bridges and Backs
by Rana Dotson, daughter of Etiwanda, daughter of Ardola, daughter of Delola whose sister Ethel raised Ardola. Delola was the daughter of Mary L. Woods.
She leans in to me and whispers
My name is Mary
[Female, Age 44,
$1,440 for 150 pounds of flesh.]
She leans in and whispers to me
sunbeams spill from her
a river showing us
our way home
earth folds her feet
cradling them like lost children
calloused pebbles in Virginia clay
hallowed hands hold forth
stirring air like slow sorghum
Go! I am your bridge to everywhere you ever needed to be.
You have carried far too many
for too long
in the meadow we have planted
Me, the seed blooming
[Pennsylvania, Colorado, California, Indiana]
Bring your bright arms
to an arc now
like the sun
Emerging through the light
We choose our way
He dusts the footsteps
Scrubs the interiors of unseen places
We came here
to help you rest
i smile at his face:
Feeds babies. Loves wife. Living life.]
We linger in the clearing
having crossed the bridge built of backs
lit by the light of our foremothers’ arms
sowing, sprouting, finding new futures
for those yet unnamed
We. Being bridges to everywhere they will ever need to be.
Say to unknown futures now: Rest