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poetry thursday

liz lamoreux

in the morning

for mary

it was my first poetry reading
i, a reluctant 7 year old attendee
standing in my jockeys as my sister,
her mouth twisting violently
around Dunbar’s dialectic verse,
screeched "lias, lias, bless de lawd"

at eight, my sister lacked subtlety
screaming lines without attention to timbre or tone,
commas & hyphens caused her no pause
she was, as instructed, projecting,
loud enough for her voice to bounce
off the rear of draper elementary’s auditorium
& to wake the deceased & resting Dunbar
a shrill fisherwoman’s delivery for a future audience

shut up, i muttered, through sleepy eyes
as my sister switched to Langston’s poem,
"life for me ain’t been no crystal stair"
her head rocking with emphasis & joy at my annoyance
i heard these two poems ricochet off the walls of our home
no less than five thousand times in a truncated February

my friends came to my home often,
looking for this kid named lias, who caused my sister
to scream with madness every waking hour
& searching in vain for the crystals in our stairs
by the time my sister had her official reading
our entire family was reciting both poems
like brainwashed idiots

thirty years later, it is me
annoying my family with verse and stanza
casting my life by the poems coursing my veins
while my sister’s life has become the jagged minstrel
that identify Dunbar’s lyrics
her song marked by the erratic meter
of an addict’s rhyme as she fills her lungs
with the shattered remains of a descending crystal stair

now i recite poems that beg her to live,
that implore her to be as tenacious in her search
for rhythm & meaning as the little girl
who lit up our home with sweet black words
who Langston warned and Dunbar amused

in the morning,
i pray for the blessing of any lord
for some lyrical benediction
to heal her cacophonous wounds
& make whole again the little girl,
who clings to sonnets & sobriety.

Kenneth Carroll

Right now, my deciding factor for Poetry Thursday is "poems that make me gasp out loud." And this one did. It also made me laugh out loud and invited little pinpricks of tears to tap at the back of my eyes.

If you would like to share a poem, one that speaks to you...makes you gasp out loud, please post it to your blog. And then you can email me and I will post a link to your blog in a new sidebar heading of Poetry Thursday participants. If you do not have a blog and want to post a poem, please feel free to post it in the comments here.

Let the poetry readings begin...