Thursday, October 15, 2020

Poems of Persistence, Solidarity, and Refuge – Lynne McEniry

We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond.  ― Gwendolyn Brooks  

Split This Rock Virtual Open Mic announcement includes a black background with red Split This Rock logo, text that reads "Virtual Open Mic," and an illustration of a hanging lamp sending out rays of light over a laptop.
As we journey through political, economic, and global health crises, we turn to poetry to share truths that unearth underlying causes, illuminate impacts, and insist on transformative change. For many of us, today’s challenges are not new. The struggle of isolation, economic insecurity, inadequate medical care, deadly institutionalized negligence, governmental decisions that put Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian, disabled, sick, and other structurally precarious people at greater risk are not new. Today, many more people are experiencing the vulnerability of these unrelenting issues. We recognize this opportunity for a heightened awareness of how our very survival depends on one another.

Poetry can help keep the flame of resilience, solidarity, and resistance alive in us. It can help us process and move through grief, anger, loneliness. Poetry can be a comfort when the most necessary actions are to rest and recover. It can remind us of what’s at stake, that our lives and legacy are worth the fight. As cultural workers, we know that culture shapes our political and social imagination at a foundational level. As poets, we can use poetry to map what is, what has been, and possibly, the way forward, including the reasons not to return to what does not honor and protect our lives, our communities, and our planet.

We asked poets to give us the words they chant to get out of bed, to raise their fists, to encourage their kin, to remind us, as this crisis does, that “we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.” To read all of these poems, visit Split This Rock’s website.


Four in the morning and I'm
By Lynne McEniry

in the bathroom worrying about a friend

with Covid and for distraction worming my way 

through a FB thread of a person I don’t know who

liked a comment I made on the post of someone

I only know on social media because I made

myself brave enough to reach out and ask

her to be my friend anyway 

and I’m reading the posts of this friend 

I barely know to try to stop worrying 

about the sick friend I know well and I’m clicking

on links of photos where this strange friend had dinner

last night and of the place her sister works and

the photos of her last vacation when I remember

the encyclopedia set my dad brought home one

night when someone had no cash to pay him

for painting their living room and he was damn

well pissed because he had planned to buy

a bag of groceries with food different from 

the cereal and powdered milk we’d been 

eating  all week      but as he turned to pick a 

volume up to probably crash it to the floor

he caught me flipping through one and pausing 

on a black and white of 

a sequoia with a man and a VW bug posed

in front of it for perspective  

and he was reminded in in my wide 

brown eyes, the innocent O of my lips 

that there was more than one way

to cure hunger and here on this

toilet at four in the morning I’m 

reminded there’s more than one way

to lose friends and gain friends

more than one way to worry more than one way

that someone hungry can turn to past 

volumes for answers        for healing

Listen as Lynne McEniry reads "Four in the morning and I'm."

No comments: