Posted April 21, 2021 in News Articles
This week for Mindful Poetry Moments we gathered to listen and contemplate Philip Metres' poem "One Tree." We were joined by special guests Sonya Verma, who led our opening meditation and poet Philip Metres who led the reading and response.
Connect with Philip Metres on his website and check out his books Shrapnel Maps, Sand Opera, and The Sound of Listening: Poetry as Refuge and Resistance.
(If you'd like to read the full transcript, that can be found here.)
Community Response Poems
On Her Way
by Kara Michelle Pierson
She always kept me waiting.
We had a set time.
I drove 5 hours to see her.
It’s just like her to not be there- so self-absorbed, just selfish.
It was girls weekend and I drove to stay with her in Springfield, Illinois.
She wasn’t there, but like always… “On her way”
I pulled up to her house, put the gear in park.
It was a long boring drive from Cincinnati to Springfield.
I had to use the bathroom so I put the gear back in drive and found the nearest Steak n Shake to use the bathroom and grab a fry
I drove back to my parking spot in front of her house to wait.
She’s so selfish. Always “on her way”
I grabbed my blanket and pillow and like always made myself as comfortable and cozy as possible.
I leaned the phone on the dash so I could find a good show on Netflix to watch
I grabbed my pillow and my fries and then I caught glimpse of the red and blue lights in my rearview mirror
Somehow they were both behind me and in front of me.
Two cars? Not sure if it was two men or four, because my vision started to fail me.
Blood rushed to my chest. Throat tight, hands sweaty. Feet ready to run.
She’s so selfish, and right now I'm alone but not to worry she’s “on her way”
The officer appeared at my window. I cracked it just a little.
“Is there a problem, officer?”
I need to see your license.
I need to see your license.
“Is there a problem?”
“Show me your license and then I’ll tell you!”
I dug through my unnecessarily large bag and grabbed my license and slid it through my cracked window.
“We received a call reporting suspicious activity. What are you doing out here?”
On days like today, I’m reminded that they’re always on their way.
by Rana Dotson
We were in the process of dying. The old blood bonds failing our common artery. / She came to take a walk, to talk, she said. / We stood there in the stilted air, /trees watching our every move,/ frozen beside the tennis courts./ The birds and leaves tracked the rise and fall of our chests./ breathing. / What flowed between the invisible tide of our once-familiar eyes./ Words belied the mass die-off event taking place between us. / Like the flock of birds that fell from the sky suddenly/ mid-flight./ Let’s take a walk, she said. I came all this way. / But I couldn’t shake the stench of death, / the sight of our sisterhood strewn like a thousand hollow-boned carcasses in the field./I sat back into the passenger seat of my car. Urging the dark-tinted windows to close off what was left of what used to be/ us. One blood. Two bodies. Standing alone in the dark.
Fight over Love
by Spencer Wainger
Dear your red face is frightening
Those eyes of love Slant
Love was there
What is wrong
Your blood pressure
We lost our love
I saw you with him
The Storm Overhead
by Rowe Schnure
Do you have to wear that hat? She snaps at me as she swings open the car door. Her purse falling, spilling across the cold asphalt. Her anger for my display of masculinity now splayed in pennies and tubes of half-used lipstick rolling beneath the other cars. What’s so wrong with my hat? I ask, pulling it tighter down atop my head like she might snatch it off if I am not careful. I wrap my scarf tight up against my nose and watch the fog of her confusion distort my lens of perception. What will people think? She says in a whisper, that has echoed throughout my upbringing, and still even today, echoes in the deep recesses of my mind. She grabs my arm before we can move any further toward the cheap Christmas decorations and overpriced craft supplies in which we both pretend to care for celebrating this holiday. It’s been three years since he took his own life and yet her own shame as his mother looms in the gray clouds above us, threatening a storm to break at any moment.
by Anna Taylor
You said it's my turn, I say it's yours.
Maybe we both should go OR maybe not at all.
There is not freedom.
The goer needs to gather soccer pieces, like a puzzle and don't forget the drinks!
They are the driver, the waiter, the communicator.
The stayer is the cook. The laundry sorter and the 5 year old entertainer.
I want to be the stayer, but without the doings.
If my stomach hurts does that give me the freedom to say,
"Not today", "I love you and not today"?
by Anna Davda
"let that motherfucker get what's coming for him," my beloved says
"he undermines the rest of us white folks"
my brown skin
squirming, I say aloud. "is it that simple, that's he's bad and you're good?"
the rays of your anger advance toward me.
I silently retreat.
It was a question
by Mari Lescaille
He called for my help
I rolled my chair to his seat
The office was buzzing as it tends to in the afternoons
Let this be the last stack in today’s string of requests.
He asked me to be quiet,
It was a question of the work, his.
And he said don’t raise your voice.
This is my regular voice. No, speak quietly.
It turned out to be the last straw for me as well.
Why, I kept thinking, nothing made sense by then
I didn’t lower my voice
He turned his head exploring other’s and dropped his fist on the table
my heart skipped a beat, it reminded of the fights with my cousin when he got
stronger as teenager.
I looked around, people were watching now
I could only see his veins getting bigger, his face turning blood
I couldn’t hear the yelling anymore, still can’t muster what he said.
I looked around once more, people kept watching.