Thursday, June 2, 2016

DC Poets: Grace Cavalieri


At sunset
they do not fold their
tents like tourists in Aruba.

How shall we dress our children
for their first fine day at school—
The refuged do not worry about
a dress, a suit, a fine day
at school.

And look at the photos
of the African child dying in the camp
with flies on his eyelids.
He has no wish for the teddy bear
sent from UNICEF.

Did you read about that child
in Arizona
beaten to death
for soiling his pants?

Did you see that mother
outside the post office
hurl her one-year-old by his arm
into her SUV?

So you dreamed last night about a baby
that you forgot to feed.
It’s not a dream the refugees
can afford to dream.

This is why you write a poem.
In fact, It’s all that you can do.
You cannot know more, unless

you are that child with a broken arm,
or, the Mother with
a baby crying at her drying breasts.

If you are not with the exiled,
captured, stripped and sold, then
you are the one who must write this poem.

Grace Cavalieri has 18 books and chapbooks published, the latest is a memoir, Life Upon the Wicked Stage.  Cavalieri has seen her 26 plays produced on American stages. Her newest play is “ANNA NICOLE: BLONDE GLORY.”  Founder and producer of “The Poet and the Poem” on public radio now in its 39th year on-air,  she’s the monthly poetry columnist and reviewer for The Washington Independent Review of Books.

Cavalieri holds several awards, including  AWP’s 2013 George Garrett Award for Service to Literature; The Allen Ginsberg Award (1993 and 2013); The Paterson Prize,  The Washington Independent Review of Books Lifetime Achievement Award (2015); and The Pen Fiction Award. Her poems have been featured on Garrison Keillor’s “Verse Daily” and Ted Kooser’s “American Life.” Her forthcoming book (Somondoco Press, 2016) is titled WITH.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to Grace for sharing this powerful must-be-written piece. HGL