Is that a poem in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? ;-D
Last year, the poem I carried around in my pocket was Spellbound by Emily Bronte. I walked around the floor, stopping at cubicles to share the poem with my co-workers. When one of them stopped me with an intriguing question.
What made me choose this particular poem to share?
I answered I didn’t know except that it spoke to me. Looking back I think I know without a doubt now why Spellbound spoke to me. The Baltimore riots over Freddie Gray was potent. And there was a growing concern that’ll spill into DC as well. The storm had come. In fact it came years ago until it finally exploded with all the rage of the city. It was as if the city had imploded on itself. Thinking back, I wonder what would’ve happened if instead of descending into chaos. And destroying their own community in misplaced anger. What if they came together, steadfast in not allowing that storm to give birth to the Baltimore riots.
So what poem am I carrying around in my pocket this year? Well first, let’s review the poems they beat out. I started out with 11 poems to choose from and it wasn’t easy. But as there can only be one some eliminations had to be made. The first set of poems cut was To Pablo by George Elliott Clarke. And i would call this a love letter but i’m not wordsworth and there aren’t enough flowers by Zainab Syed.
Second poem cut was Here and There by current US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera. Sorry. The third set of poems cut was Burning the Old Year by Naomi Shihab Nye and If a Poem Could Walk by Lorna Crozier. And the third set of poems cut was Remember by Joy Harjo and The Moment by Marie Howe. Which now leaves me with four poems.
Well, I knew it wouldn’t be easy but in the end I was able to choose my poem for Poem In Your Pocket Day. So I give my apologies to Lyric by Khaled Mattawa. And to The Road Ghazal by Sheniz Janmohamed.
Now without further ado, here’s the poem I’m carrying around in my pocket today. Beating all the rest, especially The Road Ghazal and The Red Poppy by Louise Gluck by a hair breadth for today’s pocket poem is…
PS You can find and read the poems that didn’t make the cut here.