Monday, October 8, 2012

Campaign Fatigue Elicits Poetry

A week of traveling and my campaign fatigue grows heavy. The debate made me angry. The media analyses made me angry. I railed and waged my own debate. Seemed like the world agreed that President Obama wasn’t on his game. He was bored. He wasn’t aggressive.
I disagreed. I thought he was strategic. I thought he was presidential, relaxed, cool, knowing. His mother was white, but somewhere along the way, President Obama learned You Can’t Do What They Do.
Driving down 81 South from Upstate New York on the way back to our home in Carolina, I started thinking about poetry. I’ve not really written poetry before, but the urge needled me. I wanted a different way to express what is important to me, my confusion about why people hate so strongly, and my disbelief that they feel justified. Here are two poems that grew from that need to express and on which to rest my campaign-fatigued brain. They leave me feeling vulnerable, though, and I want to scream, “Draft!” Maybe after I post them, I’ll feel embarrassed. I know they’ll change if I choose to continue to work on them. I’m still going to post them because if we hide our vulnerability, real connections cannot be formed. We can’t know about each other, other than what we assume, and we all know how that usually goes. We remain segregated by choice.

Both his hands on my hips
My arms circle his neck
Our lips touch
Another one, I say,
That one was crooked
He smiles
Our lips touch again
That’s a good one
We stay embraced
Our hearts push rhythmic pulses
Chest to chest
My day starts this way
Or with two perfect kisses
Always in the embrace,
Afraid to part
I squeeze tighter; he pulls my hips closer
The way his skin smells
Sweet and earthy
Spooned at night
His arm draped over the curve of my waist
I unfold inside him

Half Moon Cookies
Chocolate cookies
Chocolate and vanilla frosting
Meet in the middle
Look like half moons
Fallen into a cardboard box
Also called
Black and Whites
Integrated in 1976
Upstate New York
Procreated in 1984
Black and White times two
Beige babies
Our favorite bakery
Four in a box
Size of our family
Drive down 81 South
Back home
From old home to now home
Neither feels comfortable
Music infused car
Exhaust pipe spews the beat
Zoom zoom
Sun Mountain, Betty Carter, Robert Cray
Marcus Miller, Steel Pulse
Lynn August, Aquarium Rescue Unit
Angelique Kidjo
Oranges, reds, and yellows
Fires on the hillsides
Hawks circle
Cows lounge
Chew on Black and Whites
One each
Tea and soda
Somewhere in Pennsylvania
Two more down
Cross the Mason Dixon Line
No more Black and Whites
Hot air balloon at dusk
Carolina Blue down the way
Whistlin’ Dixie
No integration cookies
Look away! Look away!
Barack Obama
Look away!
Lazy, disengaged
Back to Kenya
Show the birth certificate
Integration President
Take it back
Impeach Obama
Take it back
Take back
I wish I was in Dixie
Take it back
Jesus Loves You!
Centenary, Baptist, Bethabara, Pinedale, Hope,
Jesus Loves You!
I approve this message
Tax return, no return
Lies, religion, and riches
Amendment One
Black and Whites
Gay, mixed race, Indian, Asian, Hispanic, Black
Post, Po-Po, Post
Chew it, smoke it, hang it on the wall
Unincorporated annexation
Vagina vigil
Look away!
Same as it ever was, same as it ever was
Down in the land of cotton
Look away! Look away!
Strange fruit
Stars and Bars
Old pickups
Stand your ground
Black and Whites
Tick tock
Stand my ground
Integration condemnation
Look away! Look away!
Black and Whites
Integration vindication
Look away!
Old times they are not forgotten
Reynolds built this city
We now call home
Tar heel, tar fingered
City named for cigarettes

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