Monday, April 26, 2010

Looking for Bishop Tutu in "In Our Own Words"

I got my contributor copy of In Our Own Words: A Generation Defining Itself this week. It's volume 8 in a series that explores what it means to be part of the generation born between 1960 and 1982. Much of my work has explored generational politics, so when I saw the call for submissions on Leslie Pietrzyk's blog site, I knew I had to submit.

I had four poems chosen, but only 2 were finally published. That's cool; I feel lucky to have had two included.

Here's one of them (I wrote this long before I actually saw the man, and while I didn't get a personal blessing, just being in the same room with him, hearing him speak, did, in fact, have the same impact as my poem imagines):

Looking for Bishop Tutu

Some women dream of movie stars, yearn
for those long fingers to snake
out the clogged plumbing of all their dreams,
to let life flow through them again.

Others weep for babies they can never
hold, daydream about perfect
families, feel time running out, sliding
away, drop by drop, never to be regained.

I long for Desmond Tutu’s blessing,
his hands on my head, the heels of his palms
cool against my cheeks. All my inner demons
would be still and silent before this man.

He brings enlightenment. I listen
to him, and I understand the role of suffering
in this world. He transforms the most brutal
tragedy into a lesson of God’s grace.


Shefali Shah Choksi said...

some really evocative imagery here!

Beth said...

Yes, I can understand this yearning, having heard him in person once. He is such a small man, too, but his heart fills any auditorium or space where he speaks.

Good for you for writing 20 poems! I wrote 30 but they were ALL haiku!