So we have an even bigger 6.5 installment than we promised earlier in the week. We definitely have Leila Monaghan of Wyoming, whose poem is a second response to cfrancis blackchild’s “leaving los angeles” in NPM 6 (which we’ve conveniently reprinted for you below), but we ALSO have a second poem-response to Sara Taddeo’s “45” (also reprinted below), by novelist Ru Freeman of Pennsylvania. Enjoy!
cfrancis blackchild (Missouri)
leaving los angeles
my therapist cried when I left
but I sat dry eyed
I had mourned the loss before
-the Korean fruit man
-99 cents stores
-friends hard won
-career just begun
the place I called home
-the cement patio
that housed me and my worn belongings
and gave sanctuary
she dabbed her eyes
wanting it over
the truck has been unloaded
the adrenaline spent
and I lay
wishing I had tears
to relieve my loneliness
Leila Monaghan (Wyoming)
Sara Taddeo (Maine)
I have gone down.
A useless gown
All I carry.
No ship will tarry:
No port this town.
Adrift no more,
I fear to drown
In sight of shore!
My soul’s jailer,
Can’t steer the ship
Can’t bear the whip.
The golden age?
A gilded cage!
Sweet bird of youth
Is long since flown.
Ru Freeman (Pennsylvania)
In Your Hour of Need, God
People say I turned out of weakness
I loved the things of the world. Lust of the flesh
Lust of the eyes, pride of life,
daughters, more, grand-daughters.
I refused to believe. I refused God.
When women leave men for other men
for better or worse
When child scream and child laugh wrestle
our hearts to the sweet earth
When the blues bands wail our sorrow
and we are still from grief
When no taste remains but mine,
bless me for my choice
o sisters, o brothers!
Fire and brimstone, the angels’ decree,
what fear had I of those?
Grief sets fanciful notions of heaven aside.
Nothing promised can obliterate
what has been given
this joy, this moment, this dark breath
which arrives and then withdraws, taking,
this hair on this head, these fingers at the end of this arm
these arms with which to hold and release
this body which pleases.
Look up at that famous ceiling,
see for yourself:
it is the old man who yearns
it is the young man that gifts, his nakedness content,
If life was exchanged, who is to say it flowed one way and not the other?
Look up at that famous ceiling, wonder.
When lips touch lips, and the taste of her
when pomegranate, mango, avocado grow and fall
as naked into your hands, as dressed into your mouth
consider the divine.
What I mourned, you possess.
That smear upon your tongue, that spice,
that is I.
On Jebel usdum on the western shore
of not-lake-not-sea, I stand.
God, I forgive you.
Leila Monaghan is a PhD in linguistic anthropology and wandering academic who moved 22 times in 25 years before settling down in Wyoming. She has written on topics including Deaf culture and the history of linguistic anthropology and currently teaches Disability Studies at the University of Wyoming and UMUC.
Ru Freeman’s creative and political writing has appeared internationally. Her debut novel, “A Disobedient Girl,” is published in the US and Canada by Atria/Simon & Schuster, by Viking in the UK, Australia and India, in translation in Italy, Israel, Taiwan, Turkey, Brazil, China and the Netherlands, and in audio by Tantor Media with award-winning narrator, Anne Flosnick. She blogs for the Huffington Post on literature and politics, is a contributing editorial board member of the Asian American Literary Review, and a fellow of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Corporation of Yaddo and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her new novel, O Sal Mal Lane,” will be published by Graywolf Press in May, 2013. Her website is www.rufreeman.com.