Friday, December 21, 2012

Poem of the Week: Gowri Koneswaran

Gowri Koneswaran
Photo by: Les Talusan


we're taught to hold hands 
when we cross the street
or walk with our mothers in parking lots or
navigate crowds with a friend and
don't want to come out alone 

hold hands with whomever is closest
when the power goes out 
when the sirens come near
when the moving of men marches
silences into the corner 

hold hands when
they come calling, 
when they threaten, 
"this is necessary to
teach you a lesson" or
"this is necessary 
to protect you" 

hold hands when we stand still,
when we walk, when
we run
when they tell us to
when they tell us
to do anything 

hold hands when we
fall from the sky,
with or without parachute
when we leap from tall buildings,
with or without
the ability to fly 

hold hands with the ones who
look like us,
talk like us,
believe like us 

hands like fragile boxes or bombs, 
things that could break or explode 

each finger a troop in the human army 
each gesture a shield 

-Gowri Koneswaran

Used by permission.
Gowri Koneswaran is a Sri Lankan Tamil American poet, singer and lawyer. Her advocacy has addressed animal welfare, the environment, and the rights of prisoners and the criminally accused. She was a Lannan Fellow of the Folger Shakespeare Library and a member of the 2010 DC Southern Fried Slam team, and has performed at Lincoln Center Out of Doors, the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Gowri’s poetry has appeared in Beltway Poetry QuarterlyBourgeon and Lantern Review. She leads poetry and communications workshops and hosts open mics at Busboys and Poets and BloomBars in Washington, DC, where she serves as poetry coordinator. She is also a poetry editor with Jaggery: A DesiLit Arts and Literature Journal. Gowri tweets on-the-spot haiku @gowricurry.

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If you are interested in reading past poems of the week, feel free to visit the blog archive.    

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