A Poem I Like


AMIRI BARAKA (1934-2014)

BALLAD AIR & FIRE, for Sylvia or Amina

There is music


in lonely


blue music 


purple music

black music

red music

but these are left from crowds

of people

listening and singing

from generation

to generation


All the civilizations humans have built

(speed us up we look like ants)

Our whole lives lived in an inch

or two. And those few seconds

that we breathe


in that incredible speed

blurs of sight and sound

the wind’s theories


So for us to have been together, even

 for this moment

profound like a leaf

blown in the wind

to have been together

and known you, and despite our pain

to have grasped much of what joy exists

accompanied by the ring and peal of your

romantic laughter


is what it was about, really. Life.

Loving someone, and struggling.

Amiri Baraka


A Poem I Like

If male poets expect women and trangenders to appreciate the male voice, the least men can do is read women poets and transgender poets even at their most intimate. This poem that I chose to snip from POETRY magazine (I plead fair usage) is by  Gioconda Belli, a Nicaraguan poet with an enormous sense of humor. Her work includes novels and memoirs, but I like her poems best.




So far,

all over the world,

women have survived it.

Perhaps it was that our grandmothers were stoic

or, that back then, they weren’t entitled to complain,

still they reached old age

wilting bodies

but strong souls.

Now, instead,

dissertations are written on the subject.

As early as thirty agony sets in,

Foretelling the catastrophe.


A body is much more than the sum of its hormones.

Menopausal or not

a woman remains a woman,

beyond the production of secretions or eggs.

To miss a period does not imply the loss of syntax

or coherence;

it shouldn’t lead to hiding

as a snail in a shell,

nor provoke endless brooding.

If  depression sets in

it won’t be a new occurrence,

each menstrual cycle has come to us with tears

and its load of irrational anger.

There is no reason, then,

to feel devalued:

Get rid of  tampons

and sanitary napkins!

Use them to light a bonfire in your garden!

Be naked

Dance the ritual of aging

And survive

Like so many

Before you.