In a sixth grader's notebook only two lines are written: I go outside. I look at the stars. Then I'm sad because of death and stuff--
It is difficult to think about all the news that’s hitting our screens these days. Thinking has become exhausting. I think the way a poem sometimes works is to help stabilize this process of taking in and breathing out by keeping us company through it in a very generous way.
Poet Jamaal May’s collection Hum does some of this, investigating phobias and asking questions. When I first met him at Vermont College of Fine Arts, he spoke about how to write racially inclusive work. I remember the very pointed comments he made, and how things so obvious still needed to be said.
At a funeral when I was her age, I punched dots into the program with a bow compass then held it to the light to trace paths I drew between holes. Those constellations. The paths drawn between neurons. Their firing is how I think. She adds in pencil the castle of the mind is full of hundreds of bright specters-- and I wonder what's going on in her head and mine. What sky did we fall from? sounds like an appropriate question, when I think about it but it's too much to ask a child, right?
from “Thinking Like a Split Melon” in Hum, by Jamaal May (Alice James Books, 2013)
For tonight’s prompt, borrow a line or two from this poem and use it as a springboard to your own writing. Then join us on Zoom at 7pm for our online salon; share your writing and enjoy listening, talking together.