Monday, November 18, 2013

ModPo 2013 #74 Taking Leaves: Thoughts and Final Words on Wrap-up Day

Image of floating leaves from Donald Quintana

Today is an emotional day for me. It's the end of ModPo. I can't believe it started last September 7 and now it's done. No more weekly assignments and assessments. No more poems to close read along with the video discussions. No more weekly forum posts.

I took this class to keep poetry alive for me. And it has served that purpose. And more than that.

I've never had this kind of class before: strictly focused on poetry and moving through time periods and ideologies about poetry. All I have is gratitude.  For Al Filreis, all the TAs, all the poets who assisted with PoemTalk and the webcasts, all my classmates, and Coursera, for making this platform available for people like me.

I'm sad that it's ended. But I'm revived as well. I've gathered Paradise in my narrow hands.

I've never seen narrower hands than when I am surrounded by so much rich words.

Here's my final offering, my last words on ModPo:

Taking Leaves

Cedars and lightning and ---This
condensery in a window crossed
by twelve blackbirds
and Africa

A maple leaf dropping
from some trees
three pages by the Waters
of Yolanda

The way is 48 pages late
And a Dada program
made of spines and mesostics
and where the pork chops came from

I saw the best minds of my
incineration cold as plums
rain, rain, rain upon leaves
and turn around each corner

Having no word from Tacloban
or the victims or the dead
leaves like dead stars
or obsolete petals

And toads in the suburbs
or thirty years after he died
in the imagination of Guadelajara
and mournful yellow castanets

Ringing, ringing vowels
of fragmentation and card
catalogues, astonishing wounds
of carafes, spreading a liter

of Coke on the mantle of
poppies, no gumamela, no
Mansanitas-- and blackberries
in one indivisible bramble

Dropping leaflets around
the time between November
and 1978 which is too long, too long
so that they told me she swam

in the Cemetery -- missing her
one place, search another -- in a story
made of Leaves. Waiting for you.
As long as you are, as long as you are

The process: Ten stanzas for the ten precious weeks on ModPo, four lines with only memory as oracle and thread across the stanzas.

Thank you so much! All those hours were well-spent.

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