Mild Winter / The Hard Question (Golden Shovel)


Recently easing my way out of a writer's block, I have begun a morning writing ritual.  I tend to do better with some constrictions, and particularly love experimenting with forms-  especially "newer" styles.  Yesterday, I remembered one I tried this past summer, called a Golden Shovel, a form created by Terrance Hayes, using Gwendolyn Brooks' poem, We Real Cool 
You can read about the form here. 

Below are two of my takes on it.  The first one is one I wrote yesterday morning- the second is form late summer 2019.  Mild Winter is taken from a line in Wisława Szymborska 's “A Large Number” and The Hard Question uses a quote from Rep. Elijah Cummings.





Mild Winter

A little poem, a sigh, at the cost of indescribable losses
-Wisława Szymborska “A Large Number”

People keep saying, Yes, but it’s been a
mild winter and I think of my nerves, frayed a little
my dreams a 5 ¢ movie on repeat, poems 
of them in my breakfast bowl, left in a
sink half-finished, unwashed, and sighing
at me as I walk away- at 
the way I can’t bother to wash the
one dish (2 if you count the spoon, I do) that effort costs
at least 3 spoons, even if I use the mildest of
soaps. Somedays 3 spoons are an incredible
expense- I leave them in the sink and count my mild losses.




The Hard Question


 When we are dancing with angels the question will be asked; what did we do to make sure we kept our Democracy intact? – Rep. Elijah Cummings.  


what else is there to do (when
our house is made of money and bones and we
are on the inside & it is burning & we are 
getting singed), but sing, burn mother fuck burn, dancing
like it’s our last dance because maybe it’s our last dance with
this reality. And then we crawl out of the ashes with help from the angels
maybe we are the angels, maybe we are the
children we have been waiting for maybe we ask the hard question:
now that we have burned this mother fucker down, what will 
we do now? whose hands will build? what will be
our foundation? how will we remember? have we asked 
the right questions yet? what 
do we want to forget to bring forward? did 
someone remember the wine key? now is the time we 
roll up our sleeves and let down our hair, we get to do
it different this time we get to 
love what we do, build with blessed intention, pray through song, make 
something worth living for, make fighting obsolete, make sure
our foundation isn’t corrupt: we won’t have a foreman we
will vote on what is discarded and what is kept 
won't be quick to blueprint or build, we will remember our 
ancestors- the ascended and the damned, we will build a new democracy 
and maybe this time it will stay intact.

 (epilogue: almost nothing
should last forever: 
death is 
just as holy 
as birth-
do not fear).

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