When I was in 7th grade we had a project in our English class that I just loved. I think it was part of what turned me on to poetry. We were supposed to chop up bits of poems that spoke to us and then find pictures in magazines to illustrate them. I don’t remember how many pages we were supposed to turn in but I know that I went the overachieving route and turned in about 10 times more than I needed to. That’s where I first read this poem by LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka ). It sums up how I feel when life is spinning out of control and then, right under your nose and where you least expect it, you get a touch of hope, and it is enough to carry on.
PREFACE TO A TWENTY VOLUME SUICIDE NOTE
Lately, I’ve become accustomed to the way
The ground opens up and envelops me
Each time I go out to walk the dog.
Or the broad-edged silly music the wind
Makes when I run for the bus…
Things have come to that.
And now, each night I count the stars,
And each night I get the same number.
And when they will not come to be counted,
I count the holes they leave.
Nobody sings anymore.
And then last night, I tiptoed up
To my daughter’s room and heard her
Talking to someone, and when I opened
The door, there was no one there…
Only she on her knees, peeking into
Her own clasped hands.
Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), 1961
You can read more about the poet here: http://www.amiribaraka.com
* Yes, many replies to your comments are still forthcoming. I’m sorry.
** Winners of the art contest to be announced soon. The delay is my fault.
*** Stay tuned for details about the Book Launch party for Hugging the Rock. If you’re close enough to get here, you’re invited. (Hint – save the date 9/27)