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on reminiscing…

February 17, 2012

anyone who knows me knows how much i Love reading and writing poetry.  back in 2005, my dearest friend, talia, sent me a birthday gift that was so thoughtful that i still  hold it to be one of my most prized possessions.  while i was across the country in oregon, she attended a poetry reading here in bloomington by yusef komunyakaa.  i have Loved his poetry since first being introduced to his work in the late 1990’s– his imagery is impeccable and his mannerisms come through in his writing honestly and accurately.  i admire so much they way in which he conveys situations and expresses emotion.  he is one of my favorite poets.  so, when the gift of his book, magic city, arrived in my mailbox, i was elated.  it is a collection of poems wherein he reminisces about his childhood and growing up in a small louisiana town.  what was most exciting, however, was opening the front cover to see that yusef himself had addressed the book to me and signed the copy.  i treasure this wonderful gift and the time that talia took out of her day to meet one of my favorite writers and have him inscribe a little note in his book, just for me.  today i wanted to share one of my favorite poems in the book, magic city


When the plowblade struck
An old stump hiding under
The soil like a beggar’s
Rotten tooth, they swarmed up
& Mister Jackson left the plow
Wedged like a whaler’s harpoon.
The horse was midnight
Against dusk, tethered to somebody’s
Pocketwatch.  He shivered, but not
The way women shook their heads
Before mirrors at the five
& dime– a deeper connection
To the low field’s evening star.
He stood there, in tracechains,
Lathered in froth, just
Stopped by a great, goofy
Calmness.  He whinnied
Once, & then the whole
Beautiful, blue-black sky
Fell on his back.

–yusef komunyakaa

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