Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Two Things On My Mind

There've been a lot more than two of them but I've not had much time to pause and think ... or whatever it is that i do with things on my mind.

Lemn Sissay. For starters, shall I say, what an interesting name. 'Why a blessing?' ... unless it is 'beg for a blessing', which is less likely, but equally odd. If you dig around deep enough you'll find that his background has many twists and turns. And I can almost understand why they called him 'lemin sisay' ... but I couldn't find the bit where he said his mother named him that. But still, why would she name him that?

He was adopted by English parents until he was 11, apparently against his mother's will. But his adoptive parents turned him to foster care at 11 and I'm not quite sure how he grew up after that. He is, however, against cross-cultural adoption ... which is how I found out about him. No, I'm not against cross-cultural adoption, his position just caught my eye.

His blog and one of his poems :


If there was ever one
Whom when you were sleeping
Would wipe your tears
When in dreams you were weeping;
Who would offer you time
When others demand;
Whose love lay more infinite
Than grains of sand.

If there was ever one
To whom you could cry;
Who would gather each tear
And blow it dry;
Who would offer help
On the mountains of time;
Who would stop to let each sunset
Soothe the jaded mind.

If there was ever one
To whom when you run
Will push back the clouds
So you are bathed in sun;
Who would open arms
If you would fall;
Who would show you everything
If you lost it all.

If there was ever one
Who when you achieve
Was there before the dream
And even then believed;
Who would clear the air
When it's full of loss;
Who would count love
Before the cost.

If there was ever one
Who when you are cold
Will summon warm air
For your hands to hold;
Who would make peace
In pouring pain,
Make laughter fall
In falling rain.

If there was ever one
Who can offer you this and more;
Who in keyless rooms
Can open doors;
Who in open doors
Can see open fields
And in open fields
See harvests yield.

Then see only my face
In the reflection of these tides
Through the clear water
Beyond the river side.
All I can send is love
In all that this is
A poem and a necklace
Of invisible kisses.

Another worthy read : why do we fucking swear? I've been told I put sailors to shame ... which is another odd thing, i think. Because I rarely swear when I'm angry ... or at work. Perhaps subconsciously I'm putting on a show? Who knows. Anyway, me likes article.

Hmm. Of poets and swearing, Kim Addonizio is one of my favorite poets ... alongside maybe Dorothy Parker. I'm not poetic, nor much of a poetry reader, but I've come to realize that what brings these two women together in my world is their 'vulgarity' and humor. Well, DP is unquestionably very funny ... and is even quoted in the article above.

Kim Addonizio ... I was working in Daytona, FL in the Summer of 2004. I was bored and roaming the hallways of the hotel I was staying at when I saw a pile of her books up for sale on a table. She was scheduled to speak that day. I picked up one of the books and opened to a random page to be faced by a poem called "Fuck". My thought exactly - what the fuck?! I read the poem. I bought the book, and went to the hall where the poet of that strange book I'd just acquired was speaking. She read a poem from the book about a dying brother, I think ... and yet made the reading sound so sexual. But then she also read about her cat and to me she was still sounding like she was on the same wavelength. Maybe I'm not receptive to nuances of histrionics. Anyway, no further comment 'bout that, but here's ...

There are people who will tell you
that using the word fuck in a poem
indicates a serious lapse
of taste, or imagination,

or both. It's vulgar,
indecorous, an obscenity
that crashes down like an anvil
falling through a skylight

to land on a restaurant table,
on the white linen, the cut-glass vase of lilacs.
But if you were sitting
over coffee when the metal

hit your saucer like a missile,
wouldn't that be the first thing
you'd say? Wouldn't you leap back
shouting, or at least thinking it,

over and over, bell-note riotously clanging
in the church of your brain
while the solicitous waiter
led you away, wouldn't you prop

your shaking elbows on the bar
and order your first drink in months,
telling yourself you were lucky
to be alive? And if you wouldn't

say anything but Mercy or Oh my
or Land sakes, well then
I don't want to know you anyway
and I don't give a fuck what you think

of my poem. The world is divided
into those whose opinions matter
and those who will never have
a clue, and if you knew

which one you were I could talk
to you, and tell you that sometimes
there's only one word that means
what you need it to mean, the way

there's only one person
when you first fall in love,
or one infant's cry that calls forth
the burning milk, one name

that you pray to when prayer
is what's left to you. I'm saying
in the beginning was the word
and it was good, it meant one human

entering another and it's still
what I love, the word made
flesh. Fuck me, I say to the one
whose lovely body I want close,

and as we fuck I know it's holy,
a psalm, a hymn, a hammer
ringing down on an anvil,
forging a whole new world.

~ Kim Addonizio
Everytime I read this poem, I'm surprised by how it starts, laugh in the middle, and surprised by its end.

I hate it when people swear in Amharic. Hate, hate, hate it. Yidfash, yisenTiqish, yiCHergidish is fine! It's the inat'shin and like crap that's repulsive.

I used to think you're not truly fluent in a language of a culture until you can understand the local humor. I now think you're not fluent until you can "appropriately" be offended by swearing.

So am I or am I not offended in English?


That was 3 things. At least.

p.s. It just occurred to me, his name can mean, 'Why, Sissay?'

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