The afterlife of fame

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Photo by TJ Parker

is dark
a neglected mansion

with vanishing court
rats in the empty pool

and antiquated actress
languishing

as ghost of her famous self
flickers in the projector’s beam

or framed in silver
haunts every room

Face unrecognizable?
Name forgotten?

O float me to Oblivion
in my swan bed

with my bandaged wrists
and doors shorn of locks

with swirl of my cigarette smoke
and glitter of my jewels

and silent flutter
of my weightless tulle

~ David Trinidad

At Harlem Hospital across the street from the Schomburg the only thing to eat is a Big Mac

Next Stop

Photo by TJ Parker

after Z. S.

Still, somehow we are
carousel. We spin bodies
to the wall and back.

We are woman and
man and man. We
are surgeon and

operation. We are
everybody we love.
We are inside them.

We are inside and we
are laughing. We are
man and we will die too.

We know that much.
We are our own
shadow. We are want

of touch. We are woman
and man and man don’t look.
We are curvature—look!

We are train.
We are star.
We are big

tiny spiders. We are
crawling. We are biting.
We are hungry. We are

a stopped carousel. We are
bodies dropped to the floor.
We are shaking. We are our own.

Still, somehow, we are
laughter. We are the doorway out.
We are (again) the doorway in.

~ Samiya Bashir

Anthropocene Blues

sound de-territorializes
weather
and my love clings to you
sings to you
in the “new weathers”
within a tragedy
of the Anthropocene

nothing
not
held hostage
by the hand
of Man

can we resist?
will we fail?
to save our world?

we dream replicas of ourselves
fragile, broken
robotic thought-bubbles

inside the shadow
a looming possibility
this new year
to wake up

could it be?

an anthropoid scared
from the forest
slow in development
now infantilized
much like us

stressed yet
perhaps
ready to resist
this scenario?

the forest made the monkey
& the cave & steppe: the human
and now
what makes us suppler
more human?

climate grief?
a fierce tenderness toward
the destruction of our world?

questions
or actions?

[my love for you
sings for you, world
I’ve got those Anthropocene….
Anthropocene….
blues…..]

~ Anne Waldman

Spaces

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Photo by TJ Parker

I do not know how
she felt, but I keep

thinking of her—
screaming out to an empty street.

I had been asleep
when I heard a voice

screaming, Help!
and frantic, when I opened my door.

I remember her shoulders
in the faded towel I found

before she put on my blue sweats
and white T-shirt. Call 911

please, she said.
When the officer arrived

I said, I found her there after the—
But she said,

No, that wasn’t what
happened.

What must be valued
I’m learning,

in clarity and in error,
are spaces

where
feelings are held.

Here—in a poem?
And elsewhere

~ Jenny Johnson

Let Them Not Say

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Photo by TJ Parker

Let them not say: we did not see it.
We saw.

Let them not say: we did not hear it.
We heard.

Let them not say: they did not taste it.
We ate, we trembled.

Let them not say: it was not spoken, not written.
We spoke,
we witnessed with voices and hands.

Let them not say: they did nothing.
We did not-enough.

Let them say, as they must say something:

A kerosene beauty.
It burned.

Let them say we warmed ourselves by it,
read by its light, praised,
and it burned.

~ Jane Hirshfield

Thoughts While Walking

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Photo by TJ Parker

A steel hush freezes the trees.
It is my mind stretched to stiff lace,
And draped on high wide thoughts.

My soul is a large sallow park
And people walk on it, as they do on the park before me.
They numb my levelness with dumb feet,
Yet I cannot even hate them.

~ Maxwell Bodenheim

Tuesday

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Photo by TJ Parker

Days been dark
don’t say “in these dark days”
done changed my cones and rods

Sometimes I’m the country
other times the countryside

I put my clothes back on
to take them off again

~ Fady Joudah