Tuesday, February 24, 2009


the old.
die young
at 35
with salt and pepper hair
dancing in front of the eyes
that grace textbooks and such
fingers turn pages
no wedding ring in sight
the romantic stories
are skipped
the professor feels they are irrelevant
to her idea of literature
or literature 101
is it because she's never experienced it?
do the protagonists with shining armor
lance through her daydreams
or have they died during battles of the sexes?
were they poisoned with chalk dust and boredom?
has it blurred her instruction on how to LIVE?

my instructors tell stories
better than the ones in the syllabus
they assign no laughter
only wish for silence
as their bookshelves are stacked higher
with homosexual Harlem Renaissance poets
who knew how to jive
when necessary
when the Great Depression soot
on white suits and white smiles

i told her
in the confines of her office
that i refuse to go home to
crickets and the heat kicking in
i want to come home
to poetry on the wall
in crayon
metaphors of a new start
in the form of white diapers
she laughed
reiterated my mothers lessons
words I'd learned to spell in Kindergarten
i reminded her i could also spell
fold construction paper hearts
and kiss boys in cubbies during lunch hour

grabbed my advisement papers
and smiled
she said,
"I'm glad you're graduating; proud that you're getting your degree."

I said,

"This piece of paper looks good
on my resume, indeed.
But my back up plan is
love, life, and poetry."



OB said...

never seize to take my breath away with your words mama!!

love is here and I love this right here!


Ziggy Za. said...

I really need to start thinking of more ways to comment your work; you're obviously not going to stop bringing your A Game. Great poem, Riv!

GRN[pea] said...

definitely can relate
love it.

Amber Steez said...

love it Riva.

AZscorsese said...

I feel like I have a slight advantage when it comes to appreciating your work cause I hear the conversational non-poetic versions first, but...

This poem stands out to me in terms of creativity above some of the others you've been sharing lately. You really went in on this one.

I always love your imagery & descriptions of what one sees on the outside, but this piece paints a great picture of what's underneath all that--feels something like if a psychologist was also a dope poet.

I dig!

achoiceofweapons said...

Right on! I totally love this piece!
Stop by
Mista Jaycee

Jewel Imaging said...

Wonderful statements, elegantly expressed.