from My Pooch Face
It’s crazy how much I love this dog:
she’s silver strands if I am a crow
if a pirate, she’s my mountain of gold
by sea at night she’s the northern star
and my sun & moon & light near & far
(Joya picks up almost anything and turns it into a toy that she flips in the air, catches, chases, since everything is animate and joyful play in her world.)
“The writer should never be ashamed of staring. There is nothing that does not require his attention.“
Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
And sinks into my throat her tiger’s tooth,
Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
I love this cultured hell that tests my youth.
Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
Giving me strength erect against her hate,
Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.
Yet, as a rebel fronts a king in state,
I stand within her walls with not a shred
Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.
Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
And see her might and granite wonders there,
Beneath the touch of Time’s unerring hand,
Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand.
Claude McKay was born in Jamaica in 1889.
Know that joy is rarer, more beautiful and more difficult than sadness. Once you make this all important discovery, you must embrace joy as a moral obligation.
As if disintegrating the stone of our being to sand
we pour ourselves empty to be remade beyond
the merciless sins we rise above.
The beauty of your breast now cleaved away,
my lungs always stomping their sun-flare dance against harm,
yet we reshape ourselves for one another as balm
till we can bear our stories’ terrible weight
till we are transformed as if sound—
water on granite, wind through pine,
an osprey’s haunting cry—
you and I as salt and sea and sky.
Thank you to the editors of The Tishman Review for first publishing this poem.