Thursday, April 17, 2008

Love is...

As a part of National Poetry Month festivities, I'm using my blog to participate in the first national Poem In Your Pocket Day. The point is for the participants to share their favorite poems - preferably a pocket sized one. I love poetry and I love sharing things that I love - so I'm gonna share two of my favorites with you (though admittedly one is not as pocket sized as the other).

What Love Is Like

Love is like
a pineapple,
sweet and

- Piet Hein



is the total black, being spoken
from the earth's inside.
There are many kinds of open
how a diamond comes into a knot of flame
how sound comes into a words, coloured
by who pays what for speaking.

Some words are open like a diamond
on glass windows
singing out within the crash of sun
Then there are words like stapled wagers
in a perforated book - buy and sign and tear apart -
and come whatever will all chances
the stub remains
an ill-pulled tooth with a ragged edge.
Some words live in my throat
breeding like adders. Other know sun
seeking like gypsies over my tongue
to explode through my lips
like young sparrows bursting from shell.
Some words
bedevil me

Love is word, another kind of open.
As the diamond comes into a knot of flame
I am Black because I come from the earth's inside
Now take my word for jewel in the open light.

- Audre Lorde

What do you think it says about me that two of my favorite poems just happen to be about love? Would you say that these poems are speaking about the same sort of love?

(Things like this make me miss being an English major - and make me wonder why I'm in law school.)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Our Conversation.

So she came to me saying that she didn't know what to do about it.
From that, we had this conversation. I wasn't sure
if she was looking for me to tell her what to do about it.
After awhile though, I found that she lied
(though maybe, not intentionally).
She knew exactly what to do,
she just didn't want to do it.
I guess she thought talking to me would help her find an alternative -
or maybe she just needed someone to listen to her problem
(actually that's pretty likely).
And I don't mind that - but as of late, I find
that I actually do mind when others
seek a solution when they are a step away from solving -
have the answer in the grasp, recognize it as such
but put it to the side, and look for something else
and only because the answer may provide some discomfort.
Behaving in that way is a slice of nonsense to me
because the problem, if it persists, will likely feel worse.
So after awhile I didn't comment - I asked a few questions
not really for my insight but to help her find her own.
Maybe she didn't need that
(I can't always know what others need)
but I know that she needed
to step boldly - actually not even so boldly -
but just step towards what she knew was the solution
which I am almost certain she just won't do
(at least not as a result of our conversation).

© 2008 Patricia B.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Witness.

She sat silently on the train just like everyone else.
Probably on her way to work, just like everyone else.
Dark haired, dark eyed, dark skinned and dark clothed-
Like she lived her life in the absence of light.
She arose, looked around at her fellow commuters, and spoke.

If you don't know Jesus as your Lord and Savior

You need to get to know Him today.
I'm here to tell you this morning that the Lord saves.
And because we are living in our last days
You need to know about how and why He is great.
He provides, he heals in a way no one person can do
He took me from strife, and healed my body - my life -
Saved me from AIDS - I said, full blown AIDS
When doctors said no more can be done.
When those who "knew" didn't know what to do
I got to know Him and He held me through!
His knowledge surpasses all human understanding
He is why you are here - He saved me
And has saved you in ways you don't even know.
You can't even see all that He is doing for you,
but He does what He does - He made you, He loves you
And all you have to do is get to know Him -
Get to know why He is so good!
He saved me - preserved my life - kept me here
to testify to you - to be a witness for you.
There's nothing greater in this world
Than knowledge of the Lord and His love!

As she spoke, a few commuters nodded - I suppose in agreement.
Other commuters acted as if she wasn't there.
As I listened I wondered just how
Someone who appeared so dark
came to know, to speak and to live in the Light.
© 2008 Patricia B.

What I wrote is a paraphrase of this woman's testimony, to which I was held captive with everyone else in the car this morning as I ran late to work. Train-ride evangelism is a common phenomenon in NYC subways - this morning wasn't the first time I was held captive to what someone had to say about God. This morning's testimony just was different to me. For one: she wasn't judgmental. Usually the people testifying are telling their captive audience that they are damned if they don't know God. Rarely do they share something about themselves to show just how God has worked in their lives - but even when they do - they tell their audience usually, if they don't know God, hell awaits them. She made absolutely no mention of being damned or doomed - she was just putting her faith out there. For two: her energy and her words shone so brightly - especially in comparison to her appearance. She was dressed in a hell of a lot of black and dark blue, but the woman, when she spoke, was pure radiance. It was like looking at a bright light shining out of a dark space. Lovely.

As I listened to her, I thought about the contrast between her appearance and her energy, and also thought "Wow, I have to write about this somehow and somewhere." And then I transferred from the 2 (the local) to the 4 (the express) at Franklin Ave. I didn't notice that she transferred with me, and after I sat down I heard the same words being said again. And then again, right before I got off the train. Regardless of what you may think of her beliefs, or this poem - it was meant to be written!

Oh, Happy National Poetry Month!