A Book of Days
a poem on the border
I just realized that I identify myself as a poet, but have not revealed any of my work. I have some excuse for this. First, I publish my poetry, when it is published, under a different name, and do not think of the me the poet and me the hub writer in the same way. The types of material I engage and the manner in which I do so are different in each case. Second, with the current power of technology and strange weaknesses of modern copyright law, unless you are a publishing corporation, releasing what I have worked very hard to produce and perfect seems risky. I have decided to go ahead and publish this piece on HubPages anyway, and see what happens with it. All questions and criticism are welcome. As a courtesy, please ask if you want to retain a copy of the work in any other medium other than this HubPage itself. Thanks.
A Book of Days
The two-stepping nurse and her patient
dance against gravity
into the groaning weight of doors,
Himalayan curbs, wicked corners
of drawn-out hallways.
Confucius didn't know a damn thing,
making youth an old man's ass;
as if there was not trouble sufficient to the day
I must hear of the '29 flood
and babies slipping free of the womb
on their own in undoctored cane.
Next door to Gehenna
skinned women and headless men
phantom stop signs of doomsday
I idle the days and hours worrying
with grocery lists, dust, and dishes,
the possibility of fruit,
the mystery of my mother-in-law's coffee.
Some journalist writes
I should be bittered by the blood
on the other side of the border,
but today I cut my thumb
in hot water, washing
glasses sticky with blueberry juice
and did not cry out.
I am not passing,
but I don't pay a price
for my grandmother's accent
or estranging blood.
They think she is Polish, or German
with her army-wife English,
pale skin, and nose-skinning eye.
How much they know, how mistaken,
is guided by their will to blacken
the earth with pale skin and dark,
limiting the human frame
to melanin strongholds,
shades of error, lesser and darker.
My grandmother treasures her pallor,
her bouts of skin cancer,
the purity and power of her blood,
her family's history of purchase,
of being on the wrong side of revolutions,
riding the wind from island to empire
for the right kind of wife to bear
the right kind of son, practice
the right kind of worship
under the right kind of veil.
I am not passing
but my people have owned
on the sea and on the river banks,
East Texas to San Juan,
a complicated poverty of spirit,
a mute multitude of souls.
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