Other People’s Poetry: “A Litany for Survival” Audre Lorde

al-blackuni-2

 

For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
futures
like bread in our children’s mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours;

For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.

And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
of indigestion
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid.

So it is better to speak
remembering
we were never meant to survive.


Source: Lorde, Audre. The Black Unicorn: Poems. New York: W. W. Norton, 1995. Print.

Praise Uncontrollable Gruesome

Wikipedia Poem, No. 519

w519

“For either to have expressed desire, to have / reached, would have been to offer the object of desire // power. It could not be done.” Frank Bidart

let me tell you a secret:
i’ve discovered something
in the conveniences of
mass consequence to ensure
mine would continue to bear
neutral

green leather black light
pitches back
leather clutch discovers light black
leather
clutch discovers
something wild
rushing in
cow sacrifices its skin to ensure mine

the new world bears
a neutral green light black leather
rolls back

leather pitches back leatherette that
participation with the fender of
the sacrifices

of

the sun and squeezes
loud lives
conveniences of a motorcycle

what i mean to say is
the convenience of the barking
bike living alive and dies

leather
pitches backwards to
stay here

Poem

now outside are scary things
out there children play
other bells ring out then
cease with mouths and thin skin
everything with clout is immediate and
blood waits for a bout below layers of paper

my dog watches a goldfinch
with her nose she cries
and whines complains
or does not understand the screen
a hinge creaks between
her wet nose in here and her memory
of sprinting
of the dry grass
on her brown back
of the unexpected
pizza crust she looks into me

with the excited eyes of a middle-aged
woman who in 2017 bravely enrolls
in an online poetry course
the TA refuses to insist
Frank O’Hara’s Personal Poem
has nothing to do with her
racial hangups he lost

his sobriety and everything
is unshakably out of control.

Wikipedia Poem, No. 331

wiki331-low

“It is impossible to find satisfaction in a terror that is seriously felt.” Kant, Critique of Judgement, §28

 

gently afraid
of nature
causes just

though dominion
thus shrinks from
virtuous designs

there goes inward
a reference toward fear
it may exhibit as being carried

only in our
limitation
the idea

discovers us so
far as outbursts
beautiful what is

man seeking
only a fitting fear
states respect for

comparison which is
never provided
in dominion

bemoan cases
of the world in nature
an object of stern judgement

soul above imagination
that for what we are
are is that we are

Wikipedia Poem, No. 315

wiki315

“That’s another of the Oaxacan / experiences I mentioned, / but the rest are secrets.” Michael Robbins

 

of women over her
support forceful rejoinder
did little to beauty

pageant
for years a determined
90-minute debate

did little to her part
treat dignity
say his facts which she had been him

to deeply admire
his
man whose approval rating of his years

for her charges
of having for her
he called

the years for her charges
of a primary end
I could trade

justice about controversy instead claiming
credit for years
determined

women
aimed at
her cost clashing

How’s The Weather?

 

IMG_3829

“drive the point like a nail”

 

one strikes up a conversation
how humid it’s become as if are
your children well as if what did
you get them for christmas as if and
then recedes into art objects intake
compression power as if exhaust

one finds the hole has been dug
too deep and in one’s dream the
trains are on time as if but the platform
is too far and the feverish ticket agent
exhibits unusual aggression shoes drywall
paint wood animal fiber surgical thread

one remembers white men first then
white women then black women then
black and brown men an asian someone
from estonia dracula came from trans-
ylvania a real place i suspect no know
pain drink pen paper focus foreskin

pokemon go was released for mobile
Alton Sterling and Philando Castile
were killed by men sworn to protect
in july 2016 wooden tables silk human
hair thread lead steel intention as if action

Wikipedia Poem, No. 246

wiki246-v22

“90% of everything is crap. That is true, whether you are talking about physics, chemistry, evolutionary psychology, sociology, medicine—you name it—rock music, country western. 90% of everything is crap.” Daniel Dennett

 

once there he threw a rock
at this ungentleness ripples
out of the face she came up

counterattack supporters came up
shoved his head a female t-shirt
attacked a pro-immigration who

rough revolving revolting
level security started speaking
door by the back of the breast

thrown out then perplexing
by then they’d like to whisper
almost verbatim then out thrown

go back in that she was calm
she was born and counterattack
female in a nutshell grabbed back

paculum-spec2-sm

Sources:

Wikipedia Poem, No. 233

wiki233-sm

“the ammonia curled / for a moment in the air like a spirit.” Sharon Olds

 

leukocytes appraise
without prejudice bound on
waste produce blue carbon

proteins and plasma amino
acids heathrow international blood
movements standing action committees

leukocytes carry veins toward
the cell door which exercise
dissolves in the immune system

spare black brushes of manhood
blackened hypothalamus glucose
waste principally nutrients

spirit aerated redistributed
subclavian arteries adapt molecules
strenuously deoxygenate

blood transports therea’s blood cells
her fair urothelial dress
her exalted exhale press

hemocyanin — human blue —
body heart heat cellular legs
the body thrombocyte erythrocyte

leukocyte impure
an ocean of veins
from which cells are bound

coagulate properly coat
the liver flush blood moves old
aberrant functions and plasma

platelet fluids in
circulation humans
in capacity

wikipedia poem, no. 28

IMG_2503

husband
  a 
terrible father
      regretful      sex drive
flattened, stripped out memory
       chromosomes 
       shredded
paranoia, fear 
     a 
       bad 
    sore throat 
throat 
        throat 
          throat 
throat 
  throat 
throat 
    throat 
        throat 
throat 

     throat 
throat 
throat 
throat 
throat 
throat 
throat 

     throat 
throbbing parenthetical 
    hands
	this headache
bad husband
a terrible father
         regretful, full of sex 
drive
flattened, stripped out memory
chromosomes shredded
         paranoia, fear 
      a bad breath testicular cancer
amputated this is not 
a 
poem
     	sat at the computer 
     leg 
      or foot
   a very bad 
sore     out of
memory
chromosomes shredded
     paranoia, fear 
        
     beer belly 
          
bad husband
a terrible 
father
    regretful, full of sex drive
  flattened, stripped out memory
  chromosomes shredded
   paranoia, 
fear 
a bad sore 
throat 


parenthetical 
hands
    	this is 
          not a 
     poem
	sat at the computer with 
this 
  is not a 
poem
     lack of regretful, full of 
sex 
       drive
          flattened, 
       stripped out 
memory
chromosomes 
shredded
paranoia, fear 
       beer 
      belly 

      bad husband
a terrible father
regretful, 
         full of regretful, 
  full of regretful, full 
of sex drive
flattened, stripped out memory
chromosomes 
shredded
paranoia, fear 
      a bad 
breath testicular cancer
      amputated 
   leg or foot
a 
          very bad sore 
       throat 

        throat 
      throat 
    throat 

throat 
        throat 
  throat 
     throat 
         throat 
    
throat 

         throat 
throat 
         throat 

          throat 
      throat 
          throat 
throat 
     
      throat 
     throat 
         throat 

a poem
    	sat 
at the computer 
    with his 
     is 

  lack 
of 
      sex 
      drive
  flattened, stripped 
out memory
chromosomes shredded
      paranoia, fear 
       a bad husband
        a terrible father
regretful


shredded
paranoia, fear 
      bad 
breath testicular cancer
          amputated leg or foot
a very 
bad 
husband
a terrible father
regretful, full of sex 
flattened, stripped 
out memory
chromosomes 
     memory
chromosomes 
shredded   
 a bad 
         breath testicular cancer
         amputater with his 
 throat 
         	sat at the 
computer this headache
  bad husband
      a 
   terrible 
father
           or foot
     a 
       poem       
    hands
	this is 
not a 
       terrible father
regretful, full of 
      sex 
drive
        flattened, 
stripped 
out memory
chromosomes 
   
  hands
    	this 
        
         or foot
          
  hands
	this headache
bad 
sore     	sat 
at 
   the computer 
    flattened, 
        
  
         or foot
   a very bad husband
         a terrible father
       regretful, full of sex 
  
          throat 
throat 
   a terrible throat

Untitled 07182013, second draft

I don’t give a shit
About the jungle
Or your long trek
To profitable madness
As I sound out that place’s strange name
Sweating, mosquito-thick, blood green
Impossible to itch
An incantation
The machete blade
Turns to coin.

Reminding my shrink of this story
He hands over a live freshwater trout
I really can’t compete.

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