Saturday, April 05, 2008

April 5

There really isn't any story behind this poem beyond the fact that I remember reading it and just smiling. I think any woman can find something to enjoy about this poem. A celebration of being a woman. And below is a link of the poet reading the poem. A weekend bonus.

homage to my hips

these hips are big hips they need space to move around in. they don't fit into little petty places, these hips are free hips. they don't like to be held back. these hips have never been enslaved, they go where they want to go they do what they want to do. these hips are mighty hips. these hips are magic hips. i have known them to put a spell on a man and spin him like a top!

by Lucille Clifton

Friday, April 04, 2008

April 4

Today is the fortieth anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Today is also my forty-sixth birthday. These two events have been woven into my life so deeply that they are quite inseparable in my mind and experience. So today it is fitting to remind everyone not only of this great man but of his great words. Poetry is everywhere, when you listen. I hope you will read through this glorious speech and shiver at the poetry of the prose.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring. When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Thursday, April 03, 2008

April 3

From "Two Hangovers" by James Wright.
Number Two: I Try to Waken and Greet the World Once Again In a pine tree, A few yards away from my window sill, A brilliant blue jay is springing up and down, up and down, On a branch. I laugh, as I see him abandon himself To entire delight, for he knows as well as I do That the branch will not break.
This is the poem my mother and her husband (my step-father) had on their wedding invitations. Years later I did a cross-stitch for my step-father with a blue jay on a branch and the last line of this lovely poem.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

April 2

It is hard for me to choose only one poem by this poet. There are so many which sing so beautifully. This is one of his more popular/accessible so I suppose this is a logical choice.
somehwere i have never travelled, gladly beyond any experience, your eyes have their silence: in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me, or which i cannot touch because they are too near your slightest look easily will unclose me though i have closed myself as fingers, you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens (touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose or if your wish be to close me, i and my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly, as when the heart of this flower imagines the snow carefully everywhere descending; nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals the power of your intense fragility: whose texture compels me with the colour of its countries, rendering death and forever with each breathing (i do not know what it is about you that closes and opens; only something in me understands the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses) nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands e.e.cummings
When I was briefly engaged I had suggested that we include this poem in our invitations. My fiance, after reading it, said that he didn't get it. I should have recognized then and there that something significant was missing in how we read the world. I am grateful for his finally telling me the truth and freeing me to find something more.

In Which I Fail at Riding and Writing

I tried to use the exercise bike today. Tried didn’t even make it past my setting the program I wanted to use. As soon as I had plugged in “Rolling Hills” (harder than "Ride Thru Park") and Level 03 (with some idea that I would probably drop that down to Level 02) and how long (30 minutes) and my weight (not telling!), I had to get off because I already felt enough discomfort to know that my using the bike was simply not an option.

I’ll have to try something else later, hopefully find something that doesn’t irritate the area. Perhaps some weight training or belly dancing. I know yoga is not yet an option. Very frustrating.

Not nearly as frustrating as writing. I was literally close to tears of anger. Every line felt like torture. I made several false starts for two stories, three poems, and even one essay. It doesn’t matter if I have a lot of “good ideas” if, when I sit down to write them, everything I write sounds uninspired and dull.

Which is why I share this image, of a belligerent angel. I mean, look at the angel on the right. If you were to have a guardian angel watching over you, is this how you would want your GA to look? The one looks far more gentle but I think that the pair could be viewed as two manifestations of the same being. Sometimes comforting and other times cross. So it would seem my muse is all the way on the right at the moment, not making my writing any easier than my bike riding.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April 1st

Today is the first day of National Poetry Month. (It is also the 20th anniversary of my moving to GA and the rebirthday of my being baptized as an adult. But I digress.) I am going to try to share a poem a day for the month of April. I hope you enjoy. Most of the poems will have a personal meaning for me which I hope to also share.
Harlem Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore— And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over— like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode? I read this poem before I had determined to go to college and I returned to it often during the months that led up to my decision. What happens to a dream deferred? When I first read this I had no answer because I could not tell you what my dream was for my life. I had lost my ability to dream. I was so stuck in my daily life that I had no vision for my future. And I felt as though I would do all of these things--dry up, fester, run, stink, crust over, sag, explode. Above all else, explode.

In Which I Have a Follow Up Exam

I saw my surgeon today for my post-operative exam and he says I am healing well (which I already knew) and that the lymph node did not show anything alarming. It was, however, 1.4 cm which is not necessarily freakishly large but this particular lymph node had swollen from its previous smaller size and was now protruding making certain things less comfortable. For the record, the incision has made the very same things less comfortable so the only improvement in my situation is that the incision will heal and eventually cause me no discomfort.
Per wikipedia: Human lymph nodes are bean-shaped and range in size from a few millimeters to about 1-2 cm in their normal state. They may become enlarged due to a tumor or infection. White blood cells are located within honeycomb structures of the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are enlarged when the body is infected due to enhanced production of some cells and division of activated T and B cells. In some cases they may feel enlarged due to past infections; although one may be healthy, one may still feel them residually enlarged
So that’s the final outcome. Do I seem completely unsurprised? Well, I am. Unsurprised. This is the third time I’ve had this type of procedure done and I don’t really expect any profound enlightenment from the experience.