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Legacy of Poetry Festival: My poem "In America's Wild"

April 22, 2019

San Jose State University’s Legacy of Poetry Festival created by Director of Creative Writing Program, Alan Soldofsky, focused on bringing scientists, engineers and poets together this year, 2019. I was proud to be part of the symposium, joining the faculty, current MFA students, and Alumni peers in reading our individual eco-poems about water and fire.

 

The symposium on water and fire also featured poets Forrest Gander, Arthur Sze, Craig Clements, and Eugene Cordero. I was fortunate to see the first two poets on this list. “Forrest Gander is the recipient of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for his most recent collection Be With. Considered one of the nation’s leading ecopoets.” I loved listening to his specificity on the growth and ancient life of lichen, these were new poems in development that the audience was fortunate enough to be present to. Arthur Sze read a whirlwind of life moments that he strung together inspired by an ancient calligraphy practice that now is hitting street artists. Street artists break out with bowls of water and calligraphy brushes to paint the parks' sidewalks, as the sun heats up the sidewalk these stories or poems fade away. “Arthur Sze is a poet and translator, Winner of the 2013 Jackson Prize from Poets & Writers magazine and a Finalist for a 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for his collection Compass Rose. His newest collection Sight Lines was just published."

 

Sally Ashton read from her new book, The Behavior of Clocks. The poems were inspired by her readings about Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity. It was refreshing! I enjoyed her readings about the various perspectives people can have in one moment in time although "time" seems to be inconsistent and non-chronological.

 

Here is my reading (Introduction by Santa Clara Poet Laureate, Mighty Mike McGee):

 

 

 

IN AMERICA’S WILD

By KMart

 

I.

My Love Lies Bleeding

where my garden meets concrete

Paradise is gone

Charred bones of horses and goats

sunk where they last followed

the wind’s gust of wintery past,

Paradise is gone

The foothills poured 

waters from the Feather River

into bowls, cool stone soup

for our bodies to remember 

the summer season, positioned upwards, submerged

we reflected the pines in our watery eyes,

we were so in love

we were so high

 

II.

My Love Lies Bleeding

in America’s wild 

Gripping the morphine button

I was told, “We are the 

parasites eating our own mass.” 

Tubed in electrical and tied up

so as to not stand his last stand, 

Die in grace old man, in your plastic diaper,

on your styrofoam bed with metal

piped legs, rolling on linoleum, 

not even touching the ground,

pacing the pale yellow ceiling,

We are the cancer you 

are dying from,

And you, just wanting to be laid out

on the spongy moss earth in a forest

or an open starlit hilltop for that last

rattle, to share the quake of earth’s last

breath, together

 

 

 

III.

My Love Lies Bleeding

in the amber waves of corporate greeding,

our purple mountains beat up by acid rains

We have traded a Whit-man for a Twit-man

He who disassembles all unions, 

keeping in his shorn grass bordered by a concrete,

white, picket-fence, racketeering for race

riots so as to create the unnecessary chaos and

the avoidance to the earth’s unnecessary end

This is our state of being, Simulacrum,

Our brains are in jars, 

floating in the virtual realities

that twist earth into fantasy,

There is no center to the Universe,

there is no direction in Space,

We’re not going to land on Mars safely,

outlining who has what with our big chalk sticks,

It will be war and war will continue

as long as We do.

In the same vein as Jeffers,

nature doesn’t judge, she just does, to survive,

so see the Bella Donna for what she is,

curl up by the Kittentail, let the Yellow Harlequin tickle, 

let the Leopard Lily giggle,

let the Love Vine choke the Honeysuckle 

my love lies bleeding in this wild Wild.

 

 

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