Renga for Obama

February 22, 2017

Healing in winter
Lava-flower tea — its wood
Endures like laurel.

Island-born, cool lava-bloom.
You. Presiding, laurel-crowned.

a helicopter
lifts from winter lawns — yet your
verdant hope keeps on

the snow conceals a future
hatch of shadow dragonflies

The moon hidden there
In the folds of day, the grey
What blind bold walking

Sane voice burnt in black wax won’t swerve
All I hope for now is reverb

Your weather said cool.
Cigarettes, oratory.
Who dubbed them mom jeans?

The moon doesn’t care, I know.
Your light glows from the inside.

I wear black today
and step into mid winter

A gold breeze touches my work
shirt open to some sweet song

Old school. So cool, you.
Solitary writer dreams
Midnight floating world.

Sing Al Green to me, baby.
Sing Barack, sir, as you please.

Nobody said fuck
like he did — a razor
nick quick as his smile

Romantic, dialectic —
yet a middle finger too.

Somebody said Yes
& the blood said Here We Are:
American Song.

And the bones too. The organs
and brain singing oh come back.

A country embraces
absence like something it’s earned —
the gnarled math of dust.

You tried to legalize us,
brief hope. No, no se pudo.

Stand tall as a fir
as their axes scrape the bark
of sixteen seasons

new moon drones in borrowed light
trans abolition everywhere

Here in our thawed brook
calm floats one brown leaf despite
vile loud counter-song.

Beneath it, water deepens:
the ocean’s voices lifting.

Amazing his grace
Note sermon, her garden
Our house built by slaves

What has flowered here
And not what follows

Made in Hawaii,
Jakarta. African cool.
And then came Michelle.

A garden kept them grounded.
Those two girls. Kale. Kohlrabi.

Here the fallen seeds
push up through the sprouting scrub,
scourge the noxious weeds.

Shook ones’ leaves ante up’ed fête
make’am say, you. will. miss. me.

What big ears you have,
Mr. President! and heart
Big as big can be,

Big as the Pyramid & Sphinx
In the drifting sands of Time

My Southie mother
would have loved you the way she
crushed on Kennedy

Crushed like blossoms — rose attar
Brushtroke ideogram: you

Eight years sleeping through the night:
always the given
eight years in reprieve.

The rat sneaking through the weeds
rouses the owl, which takes flight.

I know I’m alive
for, even through this smoke, I
can still see your face,

your calmness a lei’s fragrant
promise the string will not break.

scant ration of hope,
sustenance — a smiley face
of seven almonds

freedom branches one 2 3
storm light to come & to go

working the sown “and”
dowsing roots from glitter soil
our global bodies

part ether, part earth: gestures
test our being together

Waves don’t stop talking.
Where is your voice guiding us
through rocky weather?

Without you the country spins
like a mad compass needle.

Ledbetter, S-CHIP; GIT-
MO slated, almost, to go;
Rose Garden signings.

A child’s still, clear eye now wet
For the humble heart that cared

Now where is your voice?
The after: this hushed city —
rain lashing windows

Storm then come time does
Know my heart will tell

Snow falls on the path
where inalienable trees
like truth do not bend

sentinels at attention:
watchman’s duty never ends.

We can. We will. Yes.
From marrow to groove. Yes. We
dare burden to break —

to carry our massive us.
Marching poets. Each. Beat. Leaps

Unafraid to cry
even at the podium,
steelheads under ice.

Such strict poise: only a knack
for joy scores your brow just so.

Lunar eclipse —we
Keep remembering your smile
In our firmament

Or now a plate you can eat
your warmed waffle off in peace

beach marriage queer grace
cancer free o-surgery
dear life! we praise you

we make the stars ours again
one by     one by     one by     ten

Palmyra destroyed,
I couldn’t talk a whole day.
Frond-slaps in dry wind.

Switchblade Trump messing with us.
Please come back when you are strong.

Birds, elephants, whales,
us: all go along to show
glory; Obama

slips to the years ahead this
splendor-space, a realm: Bear Ears.

But his gaze and hers
held a beam of light steady
erotic, equal:

We applaud deep roots, the willow
dances the storm in wild resistance.

who touches this book —
I, too, sing America —

keep on keeping on

how many able to breathe
thanks, ACA     That’s just math

January 21, 2017
Robert Pinsky
Carol Muske-Dukes

January 22, 2017
Kimiko Hahn
Chase Twichell

January 23, 2017
Dorothea Lasky
Michael Dickman

January 24, 2017
Tom Healy
Mark Wunderlich

January 25, 2017
Lee Ann Brown
Matthew Zapruder

January 26, 2017
Jessica Hagedorn
Thulani Davis

January 27, 2017
Tom Sleigh
John Skoyles

January 28, 2017
Rachel Eliza Griffiths
Matthew Dickman

January 29, 2017
Kaveh Akbar
Javier Zamora

January 30, 2017
Sally Wen Mao
Adam Fitzgerald

January 31, 2017
Sydney Lea
Nan Cohen

February 1, 2017
Gregory Pardlo
Prageeta Sharma

February 2, 2017
Elizabeth Alexander
Paul Muldoon

February 3, 2017
Susan Wheeler
LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs

February 4, 2017
Ron Padgett
Ed Sanders

February 5, 2017
Robert Polito
Mary Karr

February 6, 2017
Michael Klein
Paisley Rekdal

February 7, 2017
Ocean Vuong
Jane Hirshfield

February 8, 2017
Monica Youn
Juan Felipe Herrera

February 9, 2017
Laynie Browne
Andrew Zawacki

February 10, 2017
Naomi Shihab Nye
Ilya Kaminsky

February 11, 2017
David Wojahn
Afaa M. Weaver

February 12, 2017
Nicole Cooley
Kazim Ali

February 13, 2017
Jill Bialosky
Jonathan Galassi

February 14, 2017
Edwin Torres
Bob Holman

February 15, 2017
John Hennessy
Sally Ball

February 16, 2017
Alicia Ostriker
Timothy Donnelly

February 17, 2017
Jen Bervin
Samiya Bashir

February 18, 2017
Jorie Graham
Henri Cole

February 19, 2017
Marie Ponsot
Mark Doty

February 20, 2017
Marie Howe
Cornelius Eady

February 21, 2017
Maureen McLane
Steph Burt