Nuestra Palabra Turns 21 and Transforms Houston & Latino art
I want to migrate back and forth across the sky
inside a flock of wild geese.
I am their camera and their eye.
Over and over, children show us that their voices can ring out with more authority and power than any adult discourse. This is the second collection published by 16-year-old Syrian-American poet Ludella Awad, who lives with her family in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ludella has said that she began to write about Syria when she was fourteen because she couldn’t talk about it.
She’s talking about it now.
In addition to two books of poetry, Ludella has done several public readings, been featured on a radio show, and attracted the attention of the University of New Mexico.
Most importantly, she hasn’t allowed the people of Syria to disappear between the cracks of fickle Western memory.
I think that’s what she set out to do.
Syria’s Bloody Nightmare
I am in a dream about Syria’s war.
I am in a dreary place where
Everyone is dressed in black;
The chairs are white, lined up in rows.
The people’s faces are wrinkled with grief.
They are picking up dirt with home-made shovels,
Throwing it on the bodies in the open graves.
The people are standing in a graveyard, smelling blood.
I hear the screams of mothers crying for their children.
I see dead roses on the ground;
I hear the wind blowing.
I look at the ground,
And see the photos and memories of Syria blowing away.
My head is spinning and spinning
With photos and memories,
Remembering my grandma,
Seeing my grandma waving to me.
By Udella Awad
Yes, I remember it,
the day I’ll die, I broadcast the crimson,
so long ago of that sky, its spread air,
its rushing dyes, and a piece of earth
bleeding, apart from the shore, as we went.
On the day I’ll die, past the guards, and he,
keeper of the world’s last saffron, rowed me
on an island the size of a grave. On
two yards he rowed me into the sunset,
past all pain. On everyone’s lips was news
of my death but only that beloved couplet,
broken, on his:
“If there is a paradise on earth
It is this, it is this, it is this.”
Yesterday I bought my first ukulele.
Today I had no mood. It seems to me that I am necessary to nobody.
I just take small guitar in my hands and began playing.
It seems to me that playing on the ukulele very easy.
I prepared for you the song Someone Like You.
I learned it. But I can’t play it.
And today I want to make you happy by my game. 🙂
Vlad Zaychev is a young Russian musician whose blog is primarily a platform for his music. I found this poem in one of his recent posts when the sentence “Today I had no mood” caught my eye.
Found poetry purists accept only exactly what is found, whether a road sign, a soup can label, a newspaper headline, a menu – or a blog post. But I pull out the sentences that belong to a poem as I see it. However I never change the order of the sentences. That
would be cheating.
Found poems are poetry’s version of photography. If you’ve never done it, give it a try. You’ll start finding poems in very unexpected
Vlad’s Blog : http://wp.me/p54vUV-5HT
Vlad Zaychev just turned 16 and lives in Siberia. You should check him out. He’s charming on a number of levels. Vlad plays classical guitar and covers songs far outside the genre. Although he’s still a beginner, he preforms with an emotional intimacy unexpected in one so young. And FYI, this actually is the first time Vlad’s ever played the ukelele! True, he plays it like a guitar, but hey, why not?
He recently tweeted “I am a handsome Russian boy!” – and you can’t argue with that.
When I asked Vlad for permission to use his material, he replied
“Yes, it is finite!” This so delighted me that I wanted to follow him around taking notes, but he won’t have to put up with that annoyence because he lives in, well, Siberia. At any rate, Vlad will soon be too fluent in English to provide us with these gifts
Whoever you are, go out into the world
leaving your home, of which you know each bit.
Your house is the last before the infinite
whoever you are. (R.M. Rilke)
“M Y T R I B E! ” Claire O’Brien
Set me free, why don’t you babe”?
Get out of my life, why don’t you babe?
You don’t really need me –
You just keep me hangin on.
PLEASE TEACH ME WHAT YOU KNOW:
NOTES FROM RICHARD, LONG AGO
I saw you right away, standing alone while a clickety-clack crowd walked right through you.
Nobody saw you. It was such a thin October day.
There are people stuck forever on the edges of the town:
No one ever told them that the railroad tracks are gone.
For all I knew, the sun might have set off-schedule and then splintered into neon rings, now circling above San Antonio. In those days, people refused to believe in things like their shoes and the weather. The rain was as unpersuasive as a stranger bumming rides to a parade.
“When no one can see you, how do you stop from becoming invisible?” I asked you. I really had to know.
Deceit’s standard bearers have long military careers but short lives. For fifteen years, I had carried the Life or Death Secrets banner into battle for the Family Silence Brigade – but like most FSB vets I was banished with broken knee caps* before I was old enough to drink.
Every version of everything I had ever experienced was equally plausible to me. I was twenty years old.
Nevertheless, love somehow recognized me as a fan and cycled itself through the pattern of my days.
I was cheered by the apparent sturdiness of this new planet, where many banished people mirthfully recounted” baseless!” allegations without breaking the world in two. Banishment slowly began to lose some of its teeth about four months after I stopped waiting outside the castle.
A year of exile produced 21 years of family lies, piled everywhere in crumpled mounds, and confused about whether they had to actually go or could sort of…stay.
Do you remember? Do you remember when every muscle was a coiled spring, and every heartbeat thumped out a frantic and – intermittently – exuberant right to truth, to adulthood, and to freedom
“That’s what I thought”, it said “That’s what I saw.
Hey, that’s another thing I knew!”
______♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ _____
Thanks very much to the Kindness Blog for publishing this post’s lead photo and for letting me post it.
You can check out more of their work at A Small Act Of Kindness Can Bring Smile On Million Faces
JEREMIAH KAUFFMAN: HIS WORLD of ART and POETRY
Author: The Salty River Bleeds, The Timbre of Sand, Still Dandelions, A Ranch Bordering the Salty River. Alum: Palomar College, Columbia University, Bennington College. Follow on twitter @SmpageSteve on Instagram @smpagemoria on Facebook @steven.page.1481
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