“You shouldn’t worry about whether you’re good now. You probably aren’t that good, but you’ll get better. There is hope.” -Billy Collins, on writing poetry
I have been doing more editing work today, amidst the violent drilling sounds on the other side of the office wall. The beach office is receiving an extension, as the space is getting a bit cramped for the burgeoning departments. You kind of have to just decide its not going to bother you, and then it doesn’t. Today I was not in the mindset to handle it so graciously.
I am working with my colleague Maitreyee on her ecology project, which features activities and writings on how to develop one’s personal relationship with Nature. It’s rad. I also finished editing the web content. Vijaybai was happy with my edits, and has given me another important job. Shivakumar asked me to help edit the introductory book that Vijay has written on the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Apparently it was printed in haste awhile ago, and they want to update the language and copy edit for typos. I am honored and up to the task.
My friends Rahti and Bini (inseperable BFFs) asked me to write a poem, a poem about anything they said. Bini is making a compilation of work from society members to publish and share. I told them of course I would, even though I haven’t really written a poem, let alone a good one, for a few years at least. If it’s good enough I will post it, for you, my darling readers.
I stumbled up on two of Barack Obama’s poems that he published at Occidental College’s literary arts journal. Apparently when she was younger Michelle used to be a bit of a poet too.
reading is cool again
It made me smile, reminding of my time as editor of the Honors College Creative Arts Journal. I tried to make it a diverse collection of all different kinds of art, like knitting works, collage, journalistic pieces. I couldn’t stand to publish a bunch of bad poems and photos of flowers. It was a lot of work, but it taught me how to be a better editor and many other skills like submission promotion, budget, managing a volunteer staff, selection process of works, layout and design and publishing of a publication. I divided the work of editor into three jobs, which still gave the next year’s staff plenty of work to do.
Anyway, here are Barry’s poems for your enjoyment:
by Barack Obama
Sitting in his seat, a seat broad and broken
In, sprinkled with ashes,
Pop switches channels, takes another
Shot of Seagrams, neat, and asks
What to do with me, a green young man
Who fails to consider the
Flim and flam of the world, since
Things have been easy for me;
I stare hard at his face, a stare
That deflects off his brow;
I’m sure he’s unaware of his
Dark, watery eyes, that
Glance in different directions,
And his slow, unwelcome twitches,
Fail to pass.
I listen, nod,
Listen, open, till I cling to his pale,
Beige T-shirt, yelling,
Yelling in his ears, that hang
With heavy lobes, but he’s still telling
His joke, so I ask why
He’s so unhappy, to which he replies…
But I don’t care anymore, cause
He took too damn long, and from
Under my seat, I pull out the
Mirror I’ve been saving; I’m laughing,
Laughing loud, the blood rushing from his face
To mine, as he grows small,
A spot in my brain, something
That may be squeezed out, like a
Watermelon seed between
Pop takes another shot, neat,
Points out the same amber
Stain on his shorts that I’ve got on mine, and
Makes me smell his smell, coming
From me; he switches channels, recites an old poem
He wrote before his mother died,
Stands, shouts, and asks
For a hug, as I shink,* my
Arms barely reaching around
His thick, oily neck, and his broad back; ’cause
I see my face, framed within
Pop’s black-framed glasses
And know he’s laughing too.
Under water grottos, caverns
Filled with apes
That eat figs.
Stepping on the figs
That the apes
Eat, they crunch.
The apes howl, bare
Their fangs, dance,
Tumble in the
Musty, wet pelts
Glistening in the blue.
(Reposted from thehuffingtonpost.com.)