In college I was fortunate enough to study poetry under Juan Felipe Herrera. He brought physicality, motion, sharp elbows, languid limbs into the practice. He encouraged the whimsical self. He taught me how to taste words. He was appropriately honored with the title of United States Poet Laureate from 2015-17.
One of the poems I wrote in his class was about girlhood. My girlhood. The tomato-tastes and the dirt-discoveries.
During a recent vacation, I used the space away from ‘the norm’ to take the frames and fragments of this past poem, a seedling, and flesh it out with some womanly roots.
Yesterday, at Verbatim Books in North Park, I mussied up the courage to test it out during an open mic. It only took seven years post-graduation to treat myself to hours of solid and serious art-work. Oh yes, I missed being behind a mic…poised for performance. Anxiety taking second fiddle to those scrumptious butterflies powered by pure exhilaration and sense of purpose.
I’m excited. I forgot how revitalizing writing and performing poetry is for me. Like stepping back into the ocean.
Thank you for reading!
Dear Girl; Dear Woman
Ten and Timid
Framed by curls
-kept wild to
collect dandelion fluff-
You believe in their seeds-
wishes upon the wind.
Tentative and Tired
Touched by yellow light
-kept warm to
teach the hummed inward language of our sisters-
You belong to a lineage of mothers whose
worn and weathered hands
in the dewey-damp grass
in the company of caterpillars
colliding into the spaces in-between-
Tell your stories with the attitude of a lioness-
with appetite with your arms
Find the ground
in the drowsy-dusk
in the presence of whimsy-pink clouds
struggling out of too-tight skin-
Live like the moth-
With conviction with your core
Sweetly sew in a pocket for a
plucked from the vine.
Boldly bite into the flesh of a
drip seeds down
resolutely rooted in the soil.