Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Poetry celebration month coming to a close

We are nearing the end of April, which means your chances of hugging a poet are becoming slim, so go out there, find a poet, and hug the stuffing out of him/her!

And buy a book of poetry. Preferably by a living writer, because poets do this out of love and passion, and like all artists I think they deserve some compensation for their effort and art. Of course, memorizing a poem is also nice--and a fine tribute.

One living poet in particular, Mary Karr, has a way with words I find both haunting and dazzling.

Here's a poem from her latest collection Sinners Welcome. It's called

"Easter at Al Qaeda Bodega"

At the gold speckled counter, my pal in white apron--
index finger tapping his Arabic paper,
where the body count dwarfs
the one in my Times--announces,
You're killing my people.

But in Hell's Kitchen, even the Antichrist
ought to have coffee--one cream
and two sugars. Blessings
upon you
, he says, and means it.
--Mary Karr

[an appropriate poem for our times, because the body count keeps getting higher and higher--and it's not just U.S. soldiers, it's the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, because they have to actually live their daily lives in a war zone. Karr reminds us of this in such a concise and powerful way.]

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