Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Readwritepoem #56 (an almost Anaïs poem for Nim)

To my community organizer

Part 1

Even the prophet shouts:

"They have become a burden to me:

I am weary of bearing them." [1]

You just bow , patch your pain with a little smile

as the poor man mends to his clothes.

We are all beggars knocking at your door

with dull eyes we creep in our gray dusty rugs.

You call us in to take from yours

teach us to walk again with poise

as laments of the mendicant are forgotten.

(but as we walk away, behind, you stumble.)

Part 2

There were servants in the house of your father:

to take your order was their only purpose,

you thought in your youth as you rode naked

the horse into the highest tide. Lighter than water

you were, blithely crossing the streets and the markets ,unaware

that it was your body the poet once loved, for:

"The strong sweet quality he has strikes through the cotton and broadcloth,

To see him pass conveys as much as the best poem, perhaps more

You linger to see his back , and the back of his neck and shoulder-side" [2]

Part 3

« Muss es sein? Es muss sein. » [3]
Blitheness has gone as our years weigh your neck down to the ground and your back cowers ("did not have to be your burden" he once said) and all we remember is an old man.
The mothers that hold hope now will not sing your beauty but loved you'll be no less for this (heavy) choice you made.


[1] Isaiah 1:14

[2] Walt Whitman - from I Sing the Body Electric ( a 2005 Signet Edition with a Billy Collins foreword). And I suppose I do not need to remind you Whitman was gay so there is a secondary connotation for this song ...

[3] The motif for Beethoven’s fourth movement of the last quartet, Opus 135 is also the leitmotif for Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being -translation (mine): 'Must it be? It must be'

[4] I started to write about the unnamed community organizer some time ago when it had been implied that the result of material sacrifices, dedication and generozity of some thousands or more Americans (that I do admire) is kinda of light occupation, more of a hobby. So I mainly wanted to stress that there is plenty of weigh and seriousness in it.

Now, the first part of this poem is about a real person (but does his name matter?), however for the sake of the prompt I tried to let my imagination fly a little so :

did he rode once a horse (naked) into some tsunami sized wave? Probably not. And if he did, I wasn't there to see it...

And also since my two previous posts are again about my five characters , this poem is almost like the one Anaïs wrote about Nim (thus the note on Whitman).


Rob Kistner said...

This was such a wonderfully magical experience winding through your piece here -- truly fine... ;)

I read it several times, each time finding a little more.

Thanks you!


Anonymous said...

I love this image: "patch your pain with a little smile / as the poor man mends to his clothes."

So many of my friends are community organizers--what a wonderful choice for a panegyric!

Lirone said...

Three parts with different styles that worked beautifully together. I particularly liked the last line of the first part... so true!

Annamari said...

Thank you. It makes me happy when someone finds my writing enticing so that would return to it.
I appreciate that you always pinpoint the lines you like the most. It helps me improve my writing.
As for the subject – this is one American hero that never disappointed me (the volunteer, the Americorps fellow, the community organizer…)
Yes, true. I appreciate your comment because that line was so hard to write and still it seems to me that it does not make it right…

gautami tripathy said...

Beautiful build up. You make me want more and more.

pictures stare, curves are drawn

Annamari said...


thanks. but do not tempt me, I might write more and more... (I know a few volunteers and community organizers so there is plenty of inspiration)

Crafty Green Poet said...

I need to come back and read this again, it's multi layered and deserves rereading.

Thanks for your comment, I'd be delighted for you to include my post in your Christmas post.

Annamari said...

I do appreciate the fact that you'll take the time to read it.

I had updated the other post, it is now above this one and it has a few links to generous bloggers as well as opportunities for you to be generous…

Philo said...

I loved the way the three parts blended the portrait of this "CO" with three cultural references: an ancient prophet, a poet, a composer.

Brought back Sarah Palin's line from the campaign: I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'Community Organizer', except that you have actual responsibilities.

I don't think people with an attitude like that read poetry!

Annamari said...


And the poet is no other than Whitman…

I could not care less if those people read poetry or not. Even if poetry is a factor of change (and I believe it is), these people are “immune” to change so I really do not think about them when I write.
I am trying to write for the undecided though (I try)...