In our April 13 issue, we put out a call soliciting original poems by our readers. We got way more entries than we have room to print, but here are some of our favorites. Thanks to everyone who submitted.
"Great Minds Think Alike"
By Amina Munoz-Ali
It is sad that you hate me
but I did not make you
the way that you are.
God and your parents
gave you that face.
they didn't like you too much either.
"My father's watch"
By Erren Kelly
My father gave me his watch last time
I saw him. I didn't know that would be the last time
Is the only commodity you can't buy or get back
Though men and women try their best to slow down time
My father made me and my brother drink cases of beer
When we were kids, after he caught us one time
So many days I waited for a ride or help that didn't come
I checked the clock constantly for the time
My father would offer me the meals he'd cook
The country boy still in him all the time
He gave me a typewriter once, cos he belived
My anger for him disappeared over time
A picture of me and him, I have now
Glad we were together, one last time
By Mary Kennan Herbert
This is the first game my son and I attend.
Brilliant sunny day, perfect for baseball.
I buy tickets from a scalper. You do what
you have to do. We travel from New Jersey
to the Center of the Universe: Shea Stadium.
I will not disappoint him. Not today.
Deal! We have the tickets in hand! We climb
up toward Heaven. At last, we are part of it.
My son can see Strawberry down there,
the size of an ant. We are here, we made it!
I feel like a giant. Parents know that feeling.
But back to the game: look down there,
tiny players are scampering to please us.
I can hold them in my hand, for my son.
The sun agrees, shines on, shines on.
Persian rice is long grain basmati
It's cooked a perfect Persian way
By perfect Persian woman
The Japanese pour tea
The French bake pastries
The Persians make rice
This is to just to say
White mountains capped with yellow
Saffron dyed peaks
Sumac like red volcano ash
For my 21st birthday
I wanted to make Persian rice
My cousin said "don't bother"
As in "I don't think you can"
She wasn't trying to be mean
But that doesn't change
How it felt.
Patchwork my country
When my grandmother dies
So will all the tastes
Of my childhood
I made sour cherry rice for my house
Instead made a pink rice pudding
My grandmother asked me
"How did you ever
plan to feed your husband?"
How to say, I'm gay?
Or more importantly,
that I will never be a real woman?
How will I save myself
when I have to admit
and admitting this
feels like betraying
the strength I need
and exerting the
strength I need
is killing me