poets.org

7

poem-a-day

poem-a-day
Sign up to receive an unpublished poem every day in your inbox.
today's poet
Roberto Carlos Garcia
Roberto Carlos Garcia

This Moment / Right Now

Recorded for Poem-a-Day, February 20, 2017.
About this Poem 

“I attended the poet Monica Hand’s homegoing service recently and was grateful and humbled by how fully she lived her life and her dream of becoming a poet. Every time I attend a service and say goodbye to someone, I contemplate what living a life amounts to, especially if that person departed suddenly. I’m overwhelmed by the thought of billions of people caught up in a moment, and I obsess over how many people stay caught up in life instead of truly living their dream—I question that.”
—Roberto Carlos Garcia

This Moment / Right Now

                              for Monica Hand

there’s a whispered prayer blowing
the crumbs of a season’s harvest
                    off a girl’s plate

& a roar breaks from her insides,
the roar a lioness
                    a beast that knows

& a man kneels somewhere
cupping his tears
                    for the loneliness he feels

though he’s surrounded by the world,
& a finch in a tree singing
                    for a lover as the buds on its branch

pop into leaves that will flourish
& welcome the green grasses,
                    Right now    a boy is wondering

if people can really dodge bullets
& is he one of them & somewhere nobody bothers
                    to ask, they simply wait

Wind spins across the landscape
they say God is twirling his fingers—

The heartbroken hook new bodies,
night after night, drink after drink

& I dance—my feet mashing grapes
for wine & I sing mockingly—
                    what is life / what is life
 

Copyright © 2017 by Roberto Carlos Garcia. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 20, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2017 by Roberto Carlos Garcia. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 20, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

collection

Classic Books of American Poetry

This collection of books showcases the masterpieces of American poetry that have influenced—or promise to influence—generations of poets. Take a look.

collection

A Poet's Glossary

Read about poetic terms and forms from Edward Hirsch's A Poet's Glossary (Harcourt, 2014), a book ten years in the making that defines the art form of poetry.  

advertisement
poem

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.
Maya Angelou
1978
Big Bend National Park
Langston Hughes's 1966 Letter
poem

America

Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
And sinks into my throat her tiger's tooth,
Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
I love this cultured hell that tests my youth!
Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
Giving me strength erect against her hate.
Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.
Yet as a rebel fronts a king in state,
I stand within her walls with not a shred
Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.
Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
And see her might and granite wonders there,
Beneath the touch of Time's unerring hand,
Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand. 
Claude McKay
1921