Renga for Obama

March 29, 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 ’em 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

Plumeria blooms —
fragrant islands on a tree
rise from common ground.

Over roots, over water
each passing step firms the earth.

What’s more complex than
a body’s continental
history shining

past the old America
which is never past itself

We . . . We . . . We . . . We . . . We . . .
The collective noun for all.
We ends and begins.

Cherry blossoms. One river.
Flowers ridden through DC.

Watch him see Michelle:
this is what a feminist
looks like, loves like, now.

Pomegranate, spikenard, phlox:
that garden’s a promise, kept.

Look how we wave still,
our bodies one glowing beast
united in grief

our linked arms raised, your steadfast
millions churning the bright air.

Tended. Intended.
Care like fingers stripping vines
from the stalk. Sugar

dissolves in our tea, now in-
visible, now everywhere.

Sho. Be brown. Be Black.
Bewilder. Be wild. Be prez.
Be that that’s been that.

Pull dignity off yo’ rack.
Strut that hazelnut strut, Black.

Black beyond moonlight
Man alone before nations
Hail the chief once more

Othello, Othello not
we, the many Iagos

Blue parks, Greenland sharks
Louisiana black bear
Brown out the mean time

The feral silence of earth,
breath held for millennia.

Water, seasons, heart.
You move like the sea’s measure —
dropping the mic cool.

Pinned to my memory: petals of light.
Anxiety, scatter, seagull the sky.

Barack and Michelle
if we sing in this dark wood
would you reappear

pragmatist-preacher & cool
in the grass all I got this.

Keys given over
in such difficult weather —
his coat braced snowfall.

Pikake flowers bloom here,
this season come too early.

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Even my far sea
ferried your voice, which buoyed us,
black bellyfuls, hope

All empires end; we’re empire
Now. New song: disturb the peace.

Song in Barry-key:
Be love and light of brisk waves
Of we are, we hold

to be self/selves evident
in light, in darkness: beauty

When you inspired you
did not forget the air re-
quired to continue.

Did not forget the air, no
more water: the fire next time.

Dave Chappelle marveled
at a black White House party —
(With Bradley Cooper).

Is it now too late to make
America hip again?

To thrust spangled fist
up, splintering sky, shattering
blue? And finding you?

Barack, a word that means blessed.
Obama, from obam: to bend.

your head gone to gray —
the winter weight of knowing
and knowing better

oceanic what was lost
ice cannot hold back the sea

Bloom spark spits its seed
into the nation’s soil.
A vision sows fire.

To our children you will be
both past and future: a seed.

After long winters
53rd Street sprouts where you
walked, read, loved Michelle.

New blooms in Belfast, in Paris:
the globe turns, still missing you.

Blessings, oh Singer,
lilies, flags, oh church, Amens!
Grace, valor, sun’s burst

brings us into the streets. Your
voice and our grief lead us home.

You smiled and lit up
the White House, made it rainbow
because love is love.

That amazing grace you had
in Charleston SC to sing.

At home body surfing
In those violent blue waters —
Clear pupils of the law

Look up! The nebula
exalts a quieter sky.

The moon holds the hand
of the dark, a child afraid
to lose her mother:

O’s hand touched black child's cheek. Now
ICE rips Mamá’s hand from mine.

I hold the gold lei
Thank you for holding us toward
a realized élan

Thank you in peace, in pieces
Of torn petals, lean back black

The window is cracked.
A blizzard is arriving.
Your clear, distinct mind

a ray of sun in gray sky
melting the Chicago cold.

Such was the dignity
you gave us now we can only
weep for its absence:

after the horn's supreme note,
a hush gathers, deepens, brims.

Your haikus’ long song
Our clouds blooming ceaselessly
All luminescence

your hand in Michelle’s high-raised
you rescued the gouged nation

Born in the twenty-
oughts, we watched you model grace.
And soon we will vote.

Come back, young South Side lovers
who read Gandhi: rule again.

Hope relentlessly
storms ahead. Ascendant wind
howls its will: Soon. Still.

Dark the dark night. We mothers
Sing our various blossoms.

Spaces between trees —
silences you searched for words
that fit the country.

Jigsaw moon of the tropics
where fugitive tongues crackle.

Sawgrass sounds. The moon
over Bear Ears, Flint spillway,
arctic birds blown south.

Inside the buds, new leaves wake.
Inside us, your strength unfolds.

affordable walls
delivered by droves across
borders without care

each blood boned body cracked the
house, white; gulp blue skies ’til red

White ripple Blue moon
Black boy stirs the pond's cool face
Water remembers

pulled cig and head ungreyed. How
laughter churched us then. And now?

Picket signs, spring
Some knowledge, supposed to stay
Encoded in smile

Come, rain. Your floods, your thunder.
You can't halt these seeds from bloom.

Trillions of stars. Ours.
Above, Orion’s hunger.
Low, roots grow like hands.

Sixty more harvests, as the
soil goes now. Then ours no more.

From the great droop’d star
drifts the black bird’s rapt carol.
How do I live now?

It has never been more clear
Thank you water, sun, Karl Marx

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