Day 2: National Poetry Month Celebration features Schwartz, Atassi, Farfaglia, Grant-Oyeye


You live not by a river but a road, both ribbons
of coming back after leaving, both full of flow
and noise and seasonal change. You did not have
a chance to choose. The road was what you could afford.

A river is what happens in dreams
and at least in one memory of a brief
sojourn, the still green surface, mysterious
opposite bank, clinging to the mind. Road
memories hover more plentiful yet often
painful: I'll stop this car and put you two out
and leave. We believe what we learn
to believe. If you had a river you could
mess about with boats although a road
may seduce into lawless wild rides.

Later you would take roads through fields
of swaying bright heads tossing buttery
in the sun toward cool dim rivers a shell
of a craft could navigate. Live where you must,
yet hear above cicadas and crow, sparrow-song
and woodchuck burrowing, rude road sounds that 
take you back and forth in memory before sleep 
on the rough thoroughfare that is your life's journey.

Dip your paddle up and back, up and back, until
you come upon the nest of osprey wide across
as many a river, full of raucous life, embattled wings,
in a place no road can reach. In this way you will not
neglect the river's constant path along the tributaries
that supply the heart.

© 2017 Patricia Roth Schwartz                    
Waterloo, NY                        

Patricia Roth Schwartz (photo provided)

 * * *


Dad came from a country
where a man rolled up in a tank
to the President's front door in midday
& knocked hard on all the olive trees.

So when he came here in 1972, he puzzled
over the furtive scandal, people crawling under
dark desks like hide-and-seek television, shining midnight
flashlights in windows of locked offices
with eagles on their doors.  Years

Later, his face of softer stone & his hair
a thread of faith across the head, my father bent
in sweeping shards of a break-in, his office-
door now only a frame for his gathering up
glass, fragments reflecting the man's eyes trying

Not to break. It was the same office I cat-burgled one
night in my 20s, with keys and flashlight, looking
for pills and a syringe to lullaby the insurgents
blowing holes in my head's mosque. Or

Like the masjid in Parma, our imam Fawaz Damra
gliding in white among tall bleached walls, his beard's
black ringlets tumbling down to white carpets, curled
like Arabic, glittering there. Until one 12th of September

A  man & his Confederate flag drove a truck through
the east wall's right to stand, expecting to find something
terrible inside. All he found was what all break-
ins find, a man sitting alone among silent doors, his
arms crossed, his face turned away, his lips forgetting
they were open once.

© 2016 Samir F. Atassi                                  
Westlake, OH                        

* * *


Texas was how I began,
the piece bigger than my hand;
California was simply a breeze,
I’d just rest it by the ocean
with ease.

Florida was fun, a hitchhiker’s thumb
I’d point south to get out of the snow;
New York, my home no matter where I’d roam,
looked due north, where Maine would go.

Then it was off to the Great Lakes
to easily slip on Michigan’s mitten;
taking a rest on my way out west,
I’d snuggle the Dakotas like two kittens.

Alaska and Hawaii, the oddball two,
went off to the side in Pacific blue,
and wasn’t it clever bunching New England together,
in fact, it was downright terrific!

Mississippi and Alabama went back to back,
ready to walk ten paces and shoot;
meanwhile, settling Oklahoma by its handle,
I’d drop in Louisiana’s work boot…

‘til I was down to the last few,
too little or too middle-America
to ever know them by name –
but I kept at it all the same

loving when those states fit just right,
piece by piece, watching my country unite.

© 2017 Jim Farfaglia                         
Fulton, NY  
Jim Farfaglia (photo provided)

* * *

Moving On

It was as if we learned, to love in the middle -
a conversation
in which you mentioned your love for colors:
in which you called them mirrors in a mirror-
the unreeling of rusted rinds.

First green grew to be your favorite.
I listened to whispers of green leaf blades-
a pact deep in tender veins as
if they were tendered roots.

Next purple touched your tongue tip-
a pigment spread out ever so gently, slowly
as if it would flow through your palate
to covert ridges of your being.

Here we go yet again. We hold multiple colors
of autumn, watch our old lust float like leaves
buried in the errant dance of re-incarnated winds.
Let me wish once again that I may find green
Yet again in the mold on the wall
upon which my silent gaze is locked.

© 2016 Lind Grant- Oyeye               
Prince George, British Columbia, Canada     

Lind Grant-Oyeye

 *   *   *
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