I recently graduated from the MFA program in Creative Writing at Queens University of Charlotte. I spend my free time reading and writing poems, getting together with friends, and watching movies. My poems have been published in Sonicboom, Eunoia Review, and The Other Journal.
Waking Up Before Noon
Bird chirps like katanas, slice through
my late morning sleep. Sunlight
pours through the broken blinds
and spills onto the pile of blankets
I'm sleeping in. I pull myself deeper
into them, trying to hide, I can't help
but notice how the holes in the fabric
covering my face look like stars
as the sun seeps through them.
I need to see the beauty
of a sunrise, people say. My body
chained cinder blocks, I want
to sleep. I've come to accept
that I will never see the sun rise
or see its white light jump up
the horizon like ices cubes popping
from a frozen tray. I've come to accept
the fact I will never see the beauty in it.
Most nights during the summer,
I sit in my living room, on a couch
with cushions like quicksand,
counting the days until fall,
watching the fireflies
across the street as the road
gets swallowed by the encroaching
night. A pick up basketball game
keeps looping over and over
in my mind. The game wasn't
important, but I can still see
the light bouncing off the gym floor
and thin shadows the lights
overhead cast. I need to write
something that exposes me.
Write a poem about how you miss
playing your cobalt blue bass
even though you could barely snap
the bass strings like rubber-bands.
Write a poem about how you're afraid
of your mother dying. Imagine the stretcher
wheels grinding against the sidewalk.
Each caster has sand in them.
Write a poem about not being
black enough. Each rattle of your
tongue, pronunciations guessed from
books reaffirmed by your white mother.
Write a poem that's a fantasy. Something
where you could almost be in love. Let it
obscure the burning emptiness
Standing in the middle of the public
library, talking with an old man with
thinned rimmed glasses about poetry,
I thought of the first time my mother
came to see me in a play.
She sat at a round table in the middle
of a baptist gym with a floor
like old Styrofoam. I watched her
from the hall, slowly following
the setting sun and drifting dust
specks caged in the rays sifting
through a nearby window screen.
After the show, she gave me
a few yellow daisies and a rainbow
pinwheel toy. The corners of her
mouth curve upward as if they were
sakura petals rolling through the wind
as she blew on the pinwheel.
The man asks me who I'm reading,
I list a few authors, he goes on
about Cummings. I kept thinking
about the pinwheel and how
its multicolored blades
broke long ago.
©2015 Donald Paris