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On a New Year's Eve -- June Jordan

Guest poem sent in by pavi
(Poem #1102) On a New Year's Eve
 Infinity doesn't interest me

 not altogether
 anymore

 I crawl and kneel and grub about
 I beg and listen for

 what can go away
                   (as easily as love)

 or perish
 like the children
 running
 hard on oneway streets/infinity
 doesn't interest me

 not anymore

 not even
 repetition your/my/eye-
 lid or the colorings of sunrise
 or all the sky excitement
 added up

 is not enough

 to satisfy this lusting admiration that I feel
 for
 your brown arm before it
 moves

 MOVES
 CHANGES UP

 the temporary sacred
 tales ago
 first bikeride round the house
 when you first saw a squat
 opossum
 carry babies on her back

 opossum up
 in the persimmon tree
 you reeling toward
 that natural
 first
 absurdity
 with so much wonder still
 it shakes your voice

                      the temporary is the sacred
                      takes me out

 and even the stars and even the snow and even
 the rain
 do not amount to much unless these things submit to some disturbance
 some derangement such
 as when I yield myself/belonging
 to your unmistaken
 body

 and let the powerful lock up the canyon/mountain
 peaks the
 hidden rivers/waterfalls the
 deepdown minerals/the coalfields/goldfields
 diamond mines close by the whoring ore
 hot
 at the center of the earth

 spinning fast as numbers
 I cannot imagine

 let the world blot
 obliterate remove so-
 called
 magnificence
 so-called
 almighty/fathomless and everlasting
 treasures/
 wealth
 (whatever that may be)

 it is this time
 that matters

 it is this history
 I care about

 the one we make together
 awkward
 inconsistent
 as a lame cat on the loose
 or quick as kids freed by the bell
 or else as strictly
 once
 as only life must mean
 a once upon a time

 I have rejected propaganda teaching me
 about the beautiful
 the truly rare

 (supposedly
 the soft push of the ocean at the hushpoint of the shore
 supposedly
 the soft push of the ocean at the hushpoint of the shore
 is beautiful
 for instance)
 but
 the truly rare can stay out there

 I have rejected that
 abstraction that enormity
 unless I see a dog walk on the beach/
 a bird seize sandflies
 or yourself
 approach me
 laughing out a sound to spoil
 the pretty picture
 make an uncontrolled
 heartbeating memory
 instead

 I read the papers preaching on
 that oil and oxygen
 that redwoods and the evergreens
 that trees the waters and the atmosphere
 compile a final listing of the world in
 short supply

 but all alive and all the lives
 persist perpetual
 in jeopardy
 persist
 as scarce as every one of us
 as difficult to find
 or keep
 as irreplaceable
 as frail
 as every one of us

 and
 as I watch your arm/your
 brown arm
 just before it moves

 I know

 all things are dear
 that disappear

 all things are dear
 that disappear
-- June Jordan
I'd never heard of June Jordan until one late evening at a university cafe.
An ex-student of hers pulled out a book of her verse and introduced us. I
learned then that she was an award-winning poet, a flame-spirited activist
and a UC Berkeley professor who taught classes and changed lives. I now
know, also, that she is one of the most published African-American voices
going - and one of the most remarkable.

June Jordan passed away this June, after battling cancer for over a decade.
I think this particular poem is very like her. Human - and beautiful. There's
a courageous sort of celebration built into it. The poem sings. By turns
defiant, tender, achingly wise. It exults in the lovely, the fallible. The
strictly once-upon-a-timeness of life has a beautiful and unbearable quality
to it. She writes it just so. There's (much) more that could be said, but
I'm stopping here. Looked up the minstrels site and found June Jordan
missing. This poem was an excuse to make the introduction.

Pavi.

ps While at Berkeley, June Jordan founded 'Poetry for the People' an
enormously popular undergraduate course, below is the link to a truly
inspired poem about her, written by an old student.

  [broken link] http://www.artistsnetwork.org/news4/news181.html

There's a biography and several links at
  [broken link] http://voices.cla.umn.edu/authors/JuneJordan.html

58 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

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June Jordan just bore me A LOT, her poem doesn't haves NOTHING new at all.Please don't post more rubbish like this.

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I'm agree with you this crap isn't literature, no way. i enjoy to read the news more than this.

Sildenafil said...

It is the first time that I read a poem that it is related to new year's eve. For me is a great moment even though that it isn't quite exactly.

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