Deeply grateful to the editorial team at Peacock Journal for presenting these poems in such a lovely way. When time permits, I encourage you to look around their site… much to explore and contemplate.
ENTHUSIASM, PART I: MOSES
There’s that other story
almost everybody knows, the one
where God tells Moses
he’s been picked to go
and deliver ultimatums
about slaves and freedom
to the Pharaoh.
Moses, less than enthusiastic:
not me, I’m not keen to be
a messenger, I can’t even
speak without a stutter.
God says: take your
brother with you, let him
do all the talking.
Summits with magicians,
all the ordinary threats
plagues and developments
that one expects
in conferences like this
Finally they manage
to get out of there, even
though they have to walk
across a Sea to do it.
Finally, it’s over. Moses
has fulfilled his mission,
is looking forward to vacation.
He steps out of the crowd
and climbs a mountain,
ready for reward, hoping
for an airlift back to Eden.
At the summit there’s
a bush, on fire but not
burning, and the Voice
tells Moses to remove his
shoes. Moses does not
hesitate, he’s had enough
of missions and of walking.
He says: They’re down
there, Lord, the lot of them.
I’ve done just as you asked,
I went and got them, led
your children out of Egypt.
(And, by the way, nice timing
on that parting of the Sea.)
All done. You’re welcome.
And the Lord says: Moses,
you’re still on assignment,
I’m not finished with you
ENTHUSIASM, PART II: GREEN MILE
In the dream, I’m tired, filthy, caked with sweat-
salt, sea-salt, sand. My robe sticks to me like a reeking
second skin. God, you know how long a road it’s been.
I am so ready for a bath, a nap, a hidden garden safe
behind some wall, a night that needs no sentries, carries
only singing, bullfrogs, owls and whippoorwills,
a sleep that settles on me gently like a breath
of honeysuckle, a sleep that wraps me soft within
its petals for the night, a sleep that lasts.
Yes, I see the mountain, God. I even smell the smoke
that’s curling up from those unburnable green
leaves. Since we both know you’re also down here
in this dusty, rocky gully I will not be climbing
up there for a chat (although if it pleases, note I am
already barefoot), ready to revere and transfer
power, hand over to anyone who’s willing: all my
responsibilities, walking-stick and tablets
of commandments. I’m so glad it’s finally over. I am
ready, ready, ready for a rest. And the Lord says:
you may not be thrilled to hear this, but you’re
still on assignment.
I’m not finished with you
ENTHUSIASM, PART III: INTO THE GAME
This is mine, my dream, my vision,
mine to change, so I move us from
the ancient Middle East back to
the living room, get down
the dictionary of etymology
God is with me, hanging out
at three AM. We’re far beyond formality
and ceremony now. I find the word
I’m looking for, I point,
He reads aloud:
Enthusiasm. It means “the God within.”
It means, I say, if You insist I must
keep going, then You’re coming with me.
Thanks but no this time on some other
companion, no home health care person
and no prophet Aaron.
If You want this done, You’ll have
to come with me, You’re going to have
to wear me. Get some skin into the game.
–Laura M Kaminski (Halima Ayuba), with gratitude for another unexpected year
Welcome to the new home of the 2017 Poets for Peace Collaboration. The primary purpose of the blog is to host and administer this year’s collaborative effort to coincide with the United Nation’s International Day of Peace, Thursday, September 21, 2017. Note: (Their website has not been updated to reflect the coming year’s activity, but we assume it will be shortly).
In addition we plan to hold one or two smaller collaborations on subjects that fall under the umbrella of Peace such as, Empathy, and/or Compassion. These smaller collaborations will, we hope, help to create a sense of community and stimulate involvement in the wider collaboration that will begin in July.
We welcome all Creative Souls to share your work here., be it poetry, art, photography, or whatever your mode of communicating Peace may be. Video and audio files are limited by the nature of the plan…
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Greetings, friends and fam! I’m delighted to announce that my latest (and final) full-length poetry collection, edited by Wale Owoade (of EXPOUND, The Strong Letters, and Bard Studio), is now available on Amazon! If you are located in the US and would like to have a signed copy, I will be glad to sign one and ship it to you for the same price ($9.00 US) that it is selling for on Amazon — just use the Contact Me form on this blog and let me know you’re interested. I can accept PayPal, checks, and promises too, if you’d like me to hold a signed copy for you. Here’s the link to Anchorhold.
The lovely cover art is from Robert Rhodes, the book design by Bard Studio, with a Foreword by j.lewis and an Introduction by JK Anowe…and a rather embarrassingly generous set of comments from colleagues in the poetry community who received advance copies of the manuscript.
This is the last collection of poetry I expect to publish, so to all of those who have followed me here on the Ark of Identity during this four-year poetry adventure: THANK YOU! Grateful for all the encouragement, inspiration, and support you’ve given me along the way. I’ll still keep the blog up, but the “Poetry Practice and Links” part of its title will be changing to reflect the next stage of the journey.
Poem in Response to Crossing the Lines: Stories by Tony Press (from my fourth and final poetry collection, ANCHORHOLD, forthcoming later this year)
quotations in the final stanza are lines and titles from stories in Crossing the Lines (Big Table Publishing, 2016); the epigraph from Rumi appears in “Two Days from the Sea”
This human being is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
There is a narrows where the stories merge,
a confluence of parables where the lessons
all converge. It doesn’t matter, once they’re
gathered, where each of them began, upon
which of faith’s many mountains they had
their origins. The gorge’s walls are birth and death.
Between them: all our days.
Upon the cliffs there hangs a mist, a cloud of
swaddling, a shroud, suspended droplets.
Fragments of the lessons permeate our days,
our every moment. Aware or unaware, we
take them in: we breathe.
There is a narrows in our windpipes where
the stories merge, the nitrogen and consonants,
the vowels and the verbs. In the alveoli, all
the words we’ve heard are filtered, membranes
customs where each passport’s checked,
each visa is reviewed:
only preauthorized molecules get through.
In theory. But the confidence we have in our
security, methods, systems, preconceptions often
fails to consider that, we too, are made
of water, all of our cells are immigrants, all
of them were something, someone, somewhere
else before. And no system of filtration
can expect complete success when it is
striving to keep kin from kin.
It is Not Fifth Avenue. We are never more
than Two Days From the Sea. “Tomorrow,
if it be granted to me, I will see my
friends again at our café,” and Jake will tell me,
“Just sip it slow, mi amigo.”
–Laura M Kaminski
If you haven’t read CROSSING THE LINES, you can check it out here.
in response to, and with lines from Irfaan Ihsan Jaffer’s poem “Forever” at iithinks
In the beginning was the silence of space
That silence held a moment of pressure and tension
In the beginning is the silence of space
That silence holds a moment of pressure and tension
I watch you raise your lips
One word from you and it exploded into light
I hope you know
Your gorgeous smile
Is heaven’s gift…
That very moment is still unfolding
As without, so within
Each morning, I walk in your garden
Take my hand and follow me
There’s a secret place
Each morning, I inhale your fragrance
Sent down to rescue me
Each morning, I bear witness to the dawn
Each morning, the dawn bears witness to the still-unfolding moment
All I see is you
As without, so within
All I see is you
-Laura M Kaminski (Halima Ayuba), 15-October-2016
at the Ibadan Poetry Foundation blog. Deeply grateful to Jumoke Verissmo and the Ibadan Poetry Foundation for finding these poems worthy. Click here to read the poems.