Thursday, September 17, 2020

Poems of Persistence, Solidarity, and Refuge – Mary Donovan

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.


it didn't happen
By Mary Donovan

imagined room full of ants.

must-be decay. they are

crawling through my

journals. devouring my

sheets. bleeding ink of

less lost-love than mis-

adventure. in other words,

youth. they are feeding

on my stories.

perhaps moths too. mice.

crowning themselves

with old loved t-shirt

from my mother, with

manatees, environmental

slogan – it was the 70s.

the ants becoming political.

cracking my mirror and

arming themselves with

the shards. fashioning 

armor from prints on 

the wall. philosophizing

at my desk. reading

Bolaño in my bed. 

laying eggs in 

dying cacti.

when they hatch

will I be back?

with vinegar &

mint oil & other

tentative solutions?

maybe moved to 

new country with

new moons with

more words in

new journals.

they smoke, fog

up my windows. 

dance to neighbors

reggaeton. & opera.

they come by the thousands.

Listen as Mary Donovan reads "it didn't happen."

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