Sunday, May 23, 2010


~for Martin Espada

In a circle we sit, some star struck
by the man whose written seventeen
books of poetry and still more to come.

When asked about a daily time for writing.
he said, “I don’t do anything every day.”
He speaks of poems being work shopped
to death, occurrences of epiphanies and elegies.

He tells us he’s a poet, but a professor too.
First and foremost though, he is a caregiver to
an 18 year old son, who eats a lot, grows too fast
and a wife, who is permanently disabled.

When I hear his booming voice,
the sincerity and truthfulness of his words,
it is then I see the sadness in his expressive eyes,
and I imagine him a poet, no matter what he’s doing.

I see him in the aisles of the supermarket
selecting tomatoes and artichokes while
reciting the passionate odes of Neruda.
First in English, then in Spanish.

I see him walking his three dogs in the
pristine and proper Town Green of Amherst.
I imagine him stopping for a moment in Spring
to share a stanza of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.

And when he is preparing the salad and placing it
on his little round kitchen table for his family,
he smiles and announces to them, “Alabanza”.
Then he sits to eat, with his loved ones, just like us.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


A woman at work’s cell phone
sounds out a familiar ringtone in
the middle of a meeting, fumbling
she flips it open, turns it off,
acts totally embarrassed. Apologizing.

It’s my father’s ring tone and I think
of him and how the phone was always
in his hand, to his ear, on a table by his side.

I want to find out the name of the song,
it’s robotic-electronic music, generic to
most of the people who have cell phones.

I want to hear it ring again and remember
the man who was always so close to me,
but never near enough, most of the time.