Sunday, July 31, 2011

Corncob constellation, 
oyster shell, drawstring pouch, dry bones. 

Gris gris in the rafters. 
Hoodoo in the sleeping nook. 
Mojo in Linda Brent's crawlspace. 

Nineteenth century corncob cosmogram 
set on the dirt floor, beneath the slant roof, 
left intact the afternoon 
that someone came and told those slaves 

"We're free."

Ars Poetica #100: I Believe
Poetry, I tell my students, 
is idiosyncratic.  Poetry 

is where we are ourselves, 
(though Sterling Brown said 

“Every ‘I’ is a dramatic ‘I’”) 
digging in the clam flats 

for the shell that snaps, 
emptying the proverbial pocketbook. 

Poetry is what you find 
in the dirt in the corner, 

overhear on the bus, God 
in the details, the only way 

to get from here to there. 
Poetry (and now my voice is rising) 

is not all love, love, love, 
and I’m sorry the dog died. 

Poetry (here I hear myself loudest) 
is the human voice,

and are we not of interest to each other?

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