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October 15, 2020 Poetry

Three Poems

Tatiana Johnson-Boria

Three Poems photo


Here We Are in Infinite Joy

“People dance to say, I am alive and in my body.
I am black alive and looking back at you.”

                         - Elizabeth Alexander, “The Trayvon Generation,” The New Yorker

 

Here is the skin
the sun glares
its radiant
teeth towards

Here are the hips
mesmerized in rhythm,
weighted blues, holy
strut, beautiful
as ever

Here they are
having cried through
some wrecking calm or chaos

Here they are dancing, for
how could they not?

Here’s how a song
emits the limbs
to swing

Are these words happy or sad?

Does it matter?
If the song
is a rich croon
in the body?

The knees arch
weathered joints
alive, with motion

The bass an arsenal
for euphoric convulsing

Here they are
Stunning celebration

How we move
How we move

Cadent glory
it is never too much
        never too much





Haibun In Which I Am a Failed Superstition

My father tells me not to split the pole. It is the only thing I remember because it is not literal. The meaning detaches from the physical, leaves abstract questions of how it could be possible to separate metal between my young hands. On the way to the playground, the bird’s caw their existence, the path’s agape with trees. They stretch away from each other as a brick walkway stretches through. We venture amidst the divide of branches. I am just learning to see beyond what is in front of me, this is my first metaphor. It is no surprise that I have never stopped believing how our bodies can determine the trajectory of what happens to those we love. The path shifts to concrete as a city bleeds through. My father guides me to never let a pole or tree exist between us. Each time we approach one meant to rupture, we don’t let go. Instead, we shift our bodies for the purpose of staying intact. I absorb this practice as a balm for keeping the ones I love close. I wear this ritual for years; a charm for keeping lovers, blood and kin, anything— bound. I have grown weary of ceremony amassing in loss. My father's hands, runes of failing, collapse the world in his wake.  How easy it is for my god’s illusions to fade hollow. His frail sorcery kept mighty in my mind

                               the sparrows chanting
                               psalms for which I must mutter
                               spells of undoing.




Lucille Celebrates the Living

Something has failed to kill the disquiet in bones. A celebration erupts from a corpse in dissent. Watch them smile in delight. Every tooth a result of someone’s prayer. Starshine suckles the tongue. How the mouth carries hymn. The shaking of limbs rhythmic divine exorcism. Won’t you witness seance in body? Won’t you see the curve in our backs, the music gliding over? Won’t you watch our thriving? Won’t you carry us into song? By the world clawing away years of breathe just because we were born. What kind of life leaves us unhaunted by our home. There are no parties where ghosts do not dance with us.

There are no parties where ghosts do not dance with us. What kind of life leaves us unhaunted by our home. By the world clawing away years of breathe just because we were born. Won’t you carry us into song? Won’t you watch our thriving? Won’t you see the curve in our backs, the music gliding over? Won’t you witness seance in body? The shaking of limbs rhythmic divine exorcism. How the mouth carries hymn. Starshine suckles the tongue. Every tooth a result of someone’s prayer. Watch them smile in delight. A celebration erupts from a corpse in dissent. Something has failed to kill the disquiet in bones.

 

 

image: Kaung Myat Min


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