Remember 1990-something.. you were walking around with pink hair streaks wearing your headphones, listening to Liz Phair and scribbling angry poetry about the girl and guy you were dating in a series of black notebooks. Poetry was everything then. Life was a walking chore-poem, a lived out cacophonous mess of trial and error/ ecstasy and weeping. Then jobs, partnering up, kids, pets, and paying bills got real and regular poem imbibing fell off.
Today is your reminder to read a poem a day. Yes.. a day, even if its while sitting on the toilet futzing with your iPhone. It will shift your day into a gauzy dream, where annoyances seem less serious and a bit of sunshine on your back can turn truly lyrical. A little bit of poetry can make a world of a difference.
Here’s today’s poem.
A piece by the wonderful vegan poet Gretchen Primack whose new book Kind, is out from lovely Post Traumatic Press. Kind looks at our relationship to (other) animals on the planet. It also explores what it’s like to be the kind of person who cares about that sort of thing.
Peas snug in their sweet green
coats, tea snug in its thermos,
absolutely orange tomatoes. Mice
root and clack and fill
their little lungs, each eye bright
as a berry. It is easy to forget Hell
here, and that is what we talk about:
Hell, and forgetting it. Once
I tried to save a bee, named
and cared for and cried for the bee.
In this plot curl the brown brain
rills of rows of seeds almost ready
and seeds spent. I’m tired of it all
being about life and death. We are
navel-gazy, a couple of Uncle Vanyas
woe-ing and alas-ing our way through
middle life. I’ve dressed this salad
before, searching for people who Get It
while drops pock the pond and
the pincushion of the garden.
It is still Sunday after all this time;
this Sunday is as long as March.
We need to hear our hearts to feel alive,
sometimes in a bitter way, sometimes
a lovely way, hear them too fast
and too hard in order to feel alive.
This might be why people hurt so many
so often: to hear the hearts of the scared
makes hearts beat fast.
No, mice, you are not this way. No,
bees, you are not, dogs, pigs, hens.
But we are, and you are
at our mercy. You cannot forget
Hell for even a day, and so I cannot
And happily, where there’s a new book, there are book parties! Refreshments, lovely people to chat with, reading, signing, a portion of proceeds to animal-advocacy organizations. You can meet lovely Gretchen and hear her read at the following places;
New York City: April 28th, 6-8 pm Jivamukti Center 841 Broadway, 2nd Floor
Woodstock, NY: May 11, 6:30 pm Kleinert/James Gallery (across from the Golden Notebook bookstore, the host of the event) 34 Tinker Street
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