Rise and shine, Albuquerque! How are you? Well, I hope. Me? I'm alright. Still just waking up. But right now I've got a cup of coffee and the radio is on - this is the beginning of a very good Sunday! I had a weird dream last night, though, in which Jon came over to my house to offer me a PINEAPPLE as a reward for taking the wheel here at the Ditch Rider for a while, and in the dream I said, "Thanks, Jon, I really appreciate this here pineapple". And then we just stood there, for a long, odd moment, shaking hands and smiling at each other at my doorstep in the way that the 1950's people did. That's seriously how my dream went. How about all of you? Did you also have strange dreams? I'd love to know; please do tell. Send all of your dreams to email@example.com. And now, raise your hands if you'd like a poem....
...So I love this poem by SethWilson Gray; I admire what he does with the quick turn of image and wordplay, how he demonstrates an agile comfort with internal rhymes left and right in this poem. He examines, with a deftness and insistent music the emotions that we have all been familiar with at one time or another in our lives, that aching longing for a first chance, or a second chance, or even just one chance at something or someone to hold on to for dear life, and he takes us with him through this nimble two-step with aplomb and arresting (“leaning up against a brick wall/in hopes I’ll just fall through it") imagery that I would imagine would be just as much a blast to hear out loud as it is to read on the page. In a conversation I had with him recently, I asked SethWilson what his favorite thing about Albuquerque is and this is what he said to me: "What I love most about Albuquerque is the people, the culture of it all. We all have our own experiences, our own perspective, our own opinions, but we all live under the same mountain. Under the same clouds and sunsets that we all love so much. Everyone may come from different places, but no matter what, we are bound together by the desert. When you stand up at Sandia Peak and look down at Albuquerque, it almost looks like we are all alone in the world. I like this. It gives the city a sense of power I haven't found in many other places." Quite an astute observation!
SethWilson, the mic is yours...
I’m tired of crossing finish lines,
The checkered stripes don’t have the same vibrato they had before,
Just like the floor where we danced.
The grooves of spinning vinyl don’t hold the keys that unlock our chests anymore,
They must be lost among the melodies of our voices,
And I would sing to you every night if only I had the chance.
Can I have this first dance?
Because I dream of our hips swaying slowly,
and the music fading slowly,
Our eyes drifting,
I’m tired of being a wallflower,
Leaning against a brick wall,
In hopes I’ll just fall through it,
Just so I don’t have to see us miss another slow song together.
Searching the crowd just to see you is getting old,
I wish I could just fold up this memory and throw it away,
It’s the note you never want the teacher to read aloud,
The words you want to never make a sound.
When you whisper in my ear,
I get chills across my mind just trying to find some way to ignore you,
Because every syllable you let fall from your lips rips me apart,
I can’t begin to start an explanation for this mystery.
Look for clues everywhere but under my shoes,
Because I know I never stepped on anything besides myself,
And I have no answers to give you.
I’ll try my best on any short answer test but I've got the rest of the time to ask the questions,
Because there are so many questions.
Why do I keep building bridges out of stones?
Just to see my bones break in a river that’s all dried up.
I’m tired of wasting my time on a turntable that doesn't seem to come back around,
I wish you would come back around,
Like a flat tire on a car heading towards the edge of a cliff,
You can’t deny the inevitability of falling,
And the few seconds we do have during free fall will leave me dangling on the idea that maybe,
We could have turned around a little earlier,
Made different choices,
Gotten a tire change,
This idea can change
Along with the beats our hearts sing to,
And I've always been a little sharp,
But I’m sure you’ll find a way to tune me
when you leave my strings to settle in the reverberations of a slammed door,
Just like the floor where we danced.
Let’s not miss this chance to get it right,
Because I’m tired of being tired at night.
SethWilson Gray is a student at V. Sue Cleveland High School, just entering his Junior year. He would consider himself a poet, but notes that [poetry] is really "just a form of expression" he enjoys, along with being in band and playing the saxophone. He started performing in slams this year, and hopes to continue performing for the rest of his life. He feels like everyone has a voice, and he is still trying to find his. SethWilson hopes you'll pay a visit to his blogs "The Words of a Poet" and "My Unspoken Words". Photograph of SethWilson Gray by James Kegley.
Poetry submissions are welcome. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local Poetry Event News: Albuquerque poet Damien Flores will be the explosive poet (I've seen him perform - it's an apt description) featuring at Poetry at the Library in Espanola on Wednesday, July 31st. Poetry at the Library is a monthly poetry series which begins at 6 pm and runs until 8:30 pm and is hosted by the Espanola Public Library. The event's MC is Adán Baca and the in-house photographer is Angelo J. Sandoval from Campana de Esperanza. I've been to this series before (full disclosure here - I've featured at this venue in the past) and it's always a fun night. Come bring your eyes and ears (and a poem or two as well, if you're up for reading in the open mic portion of the night); you will be glad you did.