LENGTH: 116 pages
Angst, Anger, Love, Hope is an honest look at what it means to be socially, economically, and emotionally disenfranchised. It is both a plaintive cry and an introspective analysis, and it is a calling to account of both society and self.
More than anything else, however, this collection is a message. To all who know the frustration of moving inside a world that takes no notice, to all who struggle to become or remain loving under tremendous adversity, these poems say, ďMe, too. You're not alone.Ē
It takes five seconds to speak this fifteen-syllable sentence. Five seconds face to face is more than enough time to risk it all with naked gambling.
Deal: I killed someone ten years ago.
Deal: I'm HIV positive.
Deal: Are you having an affair?
Deal: I want you to leave me alone.
Deal: Will you marry me?
If you wanted to be generous with the other players, you could front them thirty seconds to react. Most people don't bluff well, so it might be to your advantage. You could even front them ten seconds to rake in their words and ten more to lay them down.
Five seconds to place your bet; fifty seconds to win or lose.
Ante up your fig leaves and your silence and your pride.
I will spot you anything you ask, and
I will put all my money on your dignity.
* * * *
"Take off your shoes, for youíre on holy ground."
Itís land I havenít seen for many years.
I kneel, a penitent with grateful fears.
I cling to sanctuary that Iíve found.
I hug the floor; the templeís spun around.
Itís oh, so clear that some temptation nears.
My prayers grow louder as the longing rears.
I may be facing west; Iím sure Iím bound.
I dreamed that on this ground you took my hand.
And bid me wait and left my nerves to thrash.
Last night I lay awake and heard your stand --
And dreams are very often so much trash --
Your rage so large I could not understand
'til quiet came and all my bones were ash.
* * * *
I did not have a bathtub,
and I gripped hope in both my fists
and prayed for it to leave.
I had a shower door waterproofed with duct tape.
I teetered to work on high heels, dodging dog poop
that sat on ice-covered sidewalks between
narrow channels of snow.
I worked behind a counter.
Customers cursed and shouted at me and
made it clear
they did not trust my competence.
I was lower class, you know.
I gripped hope with both my fists and
prayed for it to leave.
I have a bathtub now.
I try to relax in deep, hot water,
but I need silence and
the drain has a minor leak.
I have a tub, and that is good, but
I go mad.
I have a car. It shakes and
knocks always, and
dies when I step on the brakes.
I have a car, and that is good, but I
am always afraid I may not.
I work behind a desk now, quietly
and at my own pace.
My own pace is never fast enough,
and though I know my field better
it is the woman who's been here longer that people go to
Her answers always supersede my own,
even on my projects.
I do not work behind a counter, and that is good, but
though I am not lower class anymore,
I am still second class.
Every improvement in circumstance is real
and I am grateful.
Grateful even as I am angry,
grateful even as I scourge myself for
I know even as I question, question it that
I am not that bitter crackpot happiest when miserable.
I know this, know it, know it.
Yet I am bitter.
I grip hope in both my fists.
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