June 2011 Poem of the Month — Steven Fleet

QUESTIONS

Are you a path
or are you a road

Are you the spark
or do you explode

Are you the wheel
or are you the carriage

Are you the temple
or are you the marriage

Are you the wind
or are you the wing

Are you the thought
or are you the thing

Are you the cause
or are you the motion

Are you the wave
or are you the ocean

Steven Fleet describes himself: “A transplant from the American Orient, I have a BFA from University of Arizona. I try to find my daily zen by making a living working with my hands. I use poetry to explore metaphysics, the nature of Self/God, the resonance of the natural world, Eastern thought, and the sacred place of Man in the cosmic order.”

You can download this poem in pdf version at http://www.writersatwork.com/poem11/june11.html.

May 2011 Poem of the Month – Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo

Ghazal of the Traffic

The sky blues yellow like smokers’ teeth tar in the city.
Smokers are made to take notice outside bars in the city.

The clutch, brake, gas, repeat rhythm numbs my skull.
Headaches move slow, jammed, like cars in the city.

I want to dip my toes in sand and lay on the water.
It’s hard to stay focused when temperatures soar in the city.

On a corner a child sells ripe mangos, yellow and green.
She looks familiar, but I have traveled too far in the city.

A hipster girl draped in vintage wails down Hollywood Blvd.
Countless are the broken dreams and scars in the city.

Radio gossip: coke-filled-photos, anorexia, Anna Nicole.
We keep our famous in air-punched-holed jars in the city.

The day turns to night’s sky like deep waters turn secrets,
and sometimes I ask, What if we saw stars above the city?

Speakers spill with Mariachi crooning a flowery Xochinero.
Tonight, home is a tear-dropped Mexican guitar in the city.

Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo is a poet, essayist, and native Angelino. She is a literary curator for Beyond Baroque Literary/Arts Center, was nominated for a 2009 Pushcart Award, and is co-founding editor of The Splinter Generation. Her work has been published in The Los Angeles Review, PALABRA, and The Umbrella Journal. You can check out her blog on immigration at xochitjulisa.blogspot.com.

You can download this poem in pdf version at http://www.writersatwork.com/poem11/Poems11/mayPoem11.pdf.

New feature on WAW Blog!

For several years, Writers At Work has featured a Poem of the Month on our website. We’re going to start posting the poem on this blog each month as well. We invite you to write your own poem in response and post it to the Comments section.

We’re interested in the idea that poems are in dialogue with other poems, sometimes intentionally and sometimes not, so how do the poems we choose speak to you? Exceptional poems you post here may be chosen to be featured as future Poems of the Month.

You are also welcome to just comment on the poems we post. But we’d really love to see your poems!