Tuesday, March 3, 2009

another reason i want to be a writer

I know I've already posted twice before about Writers Week, but it just never fails to be magical and calming--to the point where I'm so grateful to be immersed in spoken word again that I feel on the verge of tears standing in the shadows watching these word-wizards speak.
It happened to be that the only hour I could attend Writers Week this year coincided with three of my favorite former English teachers (and it turned out the other two were also in attendance) were reading. Perfect timing.
Afterward, I got to listen to most of Chuck Perkins' electric performance of his N.O.L.A.-centric poems, complete with a jazz band and Indian drummers, who danced around in elaborate costumes full of colors and feathers.

Because I haven't written much in the way of poetry lately, I am going to post two of my new favorite poems. The first was copied into a handmade journal by my friend's mom and it's one of those pieces I wish I would have written myself. I just learned the title and author by Googling the first line.
And the second poem, "Parallel Universe," was written by my cousin, Ellyn Maybe, who I'm proud to say, makes her living as a real-life poet. She recently shared a link to a magazine that published this poem. I love it because I can relate to how I feel like I could never live without music and how some people just don't get it.



Keep me from going to sleep too soon
Or if I go to sleep too soon
Come wake me up. Come any hour
Of night. Come whistling on the road.
Stomp on the porch. Bang on the door.
Make me get out of bed and come
And let you in and light a light.
Tell me the northern lights are on
And make me look. Or tell me clouds
Are doing something to the moon
They never did before, and show me.
See that I see. Talk to me till
I'm half as wide awake as you
And start to dress wondering why
I ever went to bed at all.
Tell me the walking is superb.
Not only tell me but persuade me.
You know I'm not too hard persuaded.

~Robert Francis

Parallel Universe

Sometimes I wonder if there are one million people
listening at the same time
to the same Leonard Cohen song.
The one that keeps people from killing themselves.
It's a long playing record
It's a long song

Where do people play each other the songs that will keep them
when one foot in front of the other is more myth than practice?

I once tried to play Beware of Darkness by George Harrison for a
cause its beauty and pain were singular at that moment and
I wanted to share
I wanted to hear as close as we could the same thing and
make of it what we would

He said he heard that song when it first came out and ran out
to smoke a cigarette
We lost something in that moment

I listen to music alone, but I imagine there are sharp notes
bending the backs of the universe into more flexibility, more love,
more tenderness, more a capella chiropractors

Somebody is strumming 3 basic cords and
somebody will live through the night.

~Ellyn Maybe

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