These poems are imitation poems. Meaning, these poems are written in an attempt to capture a particular poet’s voice without losing my own. There is a special place in my heart for these because I felt a connection with the poets while I was writing.
My poem, I Didn’t Know I Loved, is based on Nâzim Hikmet’s Things I Didn’t Know I Loved.
I Didn’t Know I Loved for Nâzim Hikmet I sit at my desk and count the breaths in my pen. I didn’t know I loved 11 It was hidden behind my desire for 13. Is love less beautiful if it is veiled? I didn’t know I loved the moon. It is cleaner than the light of the sun. The sun burns creates dust the moon cools and softens eyes into creating illusions that panthers sleep in oak trees that touch the stars. I never knew I loved the moon. I didn’t know I loved writing until I saw tragedy and had no warmth in my mouth for words. The white paper became my tooth and the ink my tongue. My throat was a jagged mix of letters searching the loss of a woman I had never met. A child became an adult obsessed with pen and paper. I don’t like knowing my love began with pain. Peppermint … I didn’t know I loved peppermint until the chemo current was in my arm. The smell of the saline the taste of sterility enclosed the chair as I curled trying to separate my cells. The red and white candy seeped the nausea from my heart and I slept like I was well … and now I think of seeing the daffodils Every March, very near my birthday florists bundle the lemon and cream flowers and sell them for the ACS and they rest in homes in hospitals where the light is the dimmest there the petals shine. When I moved into my new home the first flower delivered was a daffodil and I smiled. I didn’t know I loved the daffodils. I didn’t know I loved so many things, black silver white yellow and most especially red, until I sat at my desk and counted these 11 breaths.
She Chased Beauty for Joy Harjo She chased beauty in sidewalk chalk. She chased beauty in fistfuls of dandelions held softly against her lip. She chased beauty in her mother’s high heels. She chased beauty in the purr of a calico cat whose eye would sometimes glitter with madness. She chased beauty. She chased beauty through the splash of a spring puddle. She chased beauty in lilac-flowered hair. She chased beauty in the ink of a book. She chased beauty in a house that shivered with too much pain. She chased beauty in parents too tired to chase back. She chased beauty. She chased beauty in bright red lipstick. She chased beauty with pink painted toes, then hid them in steel-toed boots. She chased beauty in the beards of men who were not beautiful. She chased beauty in the beard of a man who was. She chased beauty. She chased beauty in between malignant cells and saline-sweetened IVs. She chased beauty bald. She chased beauty beneath hats, wide-brimmed and floppy. She chased beauty in the scar on her neck, though the doctor assured her it would fade into the wrinkle of age. She chased beauty in quiet, smile-coated pain. She chased beauty. She chased beauty for two daughters who were so like her, she was ecstatic. She chased beauty for two daughters so like her, she was afraid. She chased beauty for two daughters so they would recognize beauty without their own chasing. She chased beauty.