Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Farah Jasmine Griffin: Visionary Tendencies

for Farah Jasmine Griffin

it could be
that bright paper
intentional folds
and stolen staples
are deceptively long term
propellers that
wing awake in our chests

it could be
that sound has its own
sweepstake calculus
that listening is the prize
when our eyes

it could be
that teaching is a faith
in rebirth
not through a doctrine
of more selves
but in rays of growth
frames of reflection

it could be
that I had
already known
all of these things

but it is
to say it

it is crucial
to say

that the first time
i heard
and recognized
each of those

it was you
who was speaking

Ileana Mendez-Penate: Relational

for Ily

they say
that the poet
writes only of herself
reflected back
in moments of watching

how much more true then
when the one beheld
is related
through intentional
made coincident
in institutional predicaments
of discovery and costume

you have
made believable
a practice
of expression
where every possibility
has a landing
of embrace

you justify
a refashioning a faith
that even i
could make sense
or be clothed
or even maybe
as myself

Paula Ximena Rojas-Urrutia: Acrobatic Doula

for Paula

if every word ended
with the letter "a"
(or at least all the
important ones)
i might assume
that it had been
by your design

i imagine
that its part
of your strategy
to leave us
with our mouths open
facing each other

or maybe part of the plan
is to make us
more likely to exhale
ready to let go
the knowledge
that keeps our faces

because a sigh
is not a scream
is not an
but you may already believe
that how we say
will be various

so i think
you have made
and earned
and required
a choir
where love
sounds like

See the beautiful work of SistaIISista (an organization that Paula helped to found)

Deborah Small: Break the Chains

for Deborah

like rubber-souled
or gavels with ridges
your voice builds
thick enough
for rollerskates

and in rhythm
with the last sigh
of the first bus home
your hand pulls
the seal
off the waiting punch-line
for the joke we're living

as a curled up
surprise for a
world in the wings
and a secret passageway
to the part of the story
when all the walls fall down

i know what happens
when a link bursts open
and steel reveals
its internal edges

i can see
the mosaic
of rubble painted clear
so I know what it means
the Deborah is here

every break
every chip
every slip
and mistake

gets a new life
and smoothed space
to grow

Learn more about Deborah's organization Break the Chains (

Monica Miller: (Not) A Moment of Arrival

for Monica Miller

imagine landing
through some accidental decisions
on a ground of blossoms
dispersed upward in peals

or try
pushing yourself forward
finding that doorways
have names and gifts
that unstring
the need for striving

or maybe
there is a sharp
upward note
asymptote of conclusion
that when projected
with a hand to frame
wins everything
before wanting

what i mean to say is
when i wrote this
i was sitting
in the place i sat
at the moment
i decided
to go to the school
where i never knew
i would meet you

so therefore

Aurelia Sands Belle: Durham Crisis Response Center

i think your
voice box must be
a sand dollar
thin solid patterns
fluting your name
in chorus

so when i think
of your desk
i think it should be
somehow coastal
strung with chimes
out of doors
and always spring

but even i
don't expect this
to be true
so my second place vison
(no contest)
for your seat of influence
is through a door
which leads through
another door
which lads to a room
with a small window
and unchosen orange
and leather worn from
various listenings

it occurs to me
that every building
is inadequate
to the delicacy
of your work
and no hourglass
contains the urgency
of your days
and no existing outfit
is appropriate to your task

or even my imagination
blown as it is into
stained glass visions
of guessing
cannot do (you) justice

Durham Crisis Response Center