The Sunday Poem: Two Poems by Susan Sherman

Good morning, readers! This is Guest Editor Rich Boucher here, proud to fill in for Jon the month of June - I promise I won't break too many things, and I will clean up after myself! Promise!

Now, then....onward to the poetry.....

...we are gifted this morning with two poems by Susan Sherman, who will be giving a reading to celebrate the release of her book, "The Light that Puts an End to Dreams (Selected & New poems)" on Saturday, June 9, from 7pm to 8pm at Alamosa Books, 8810 Holly Ave NE, Albuquerque.

Let the messages in her works this morning savor on our tongues like a rare wine, at once intense and serene....

 

 

CASUALTIES OF WAR

 

There are some pictures in the mind

impossible to forget   Over the phone 

her words barely perceptible   her voice thin 

Susan, I love you   Both knowing

these are the last words that will pass between us   ever 

as she slips back into a coma   to die at thirty-five

a breast tumor   undetected   until too late 

 

There are secrets we shared   connected in friendship

struggle   that will never be revealed   and others 

The night she appeared at my door   suitcase in hand 

crying   stunned   arriving home unexpectedly

to find her boyfriend activist hero 

with a needle in his arm   a packet of white powder

balanced on the bathroom shelf 

Susan, I love you   I put down the phone

never pick it up again to say her name

With all we went through together   that night

for the first time   I call myself coward 

Sonia   we both knew   it was just too much to bear

 

And now   years later   I sit and watch the death

of another friend   We don't share the same events

have lived different lives   Only one secret 

passed between us   AIDS

 

There is no way to hide that name

 

This time I sit day by day   watching him slowly

die   Watching the words drift away from his lips

and then his mind   as less and less enters

through closed and hooded lids   This time

it is already too late to turn away

 

I see now how struggle can drain you   wear you out

in unexpected ways   A war is hardest

when the enemy is undefined   When so few recognize

there is an enemy   a human face   beneath inhuman acts

 

Make no mistake   this is no elegy   no lament 

These people are not victims   martyrs  

They are casualties of a war    they struggled

all their life to win 

 

--Susan Sherman

 

 

MIGRATION

 

Birds fly south   chained to the wind   They are wild

not free   There is a difference   They move

without reflection    choice   driven by instincts 

they cannot begin to understand  

What use are words against such need  

I thought I could lose my self in wings 

but I am held by memory  desire

imagined futures   Citizens of air  of water

earth and sea   we are sisters and brothers

bound together by a destination that calls us

in our blood  But only I can turn around

fly north   change direction   return again

fly south into the wind

 

--Susan Sherman

 

 

 

Poetry submissions are welcome.  Email theditchrider@gmail.com.

 

 

 

Views: 258

Comment by Margaret Randall on June 3, 2012 at 9:36am

Sherman's new book is beautiful, powerful, with poems that will shake you to your core, and wonderful to hold in the hand. Thank you, Rich, for filling in for Jon this month, and for posting these two poems. THE LIGHT THAT PUTS AN END TO DREAMS also includes a moving series for the great Mexican religious sister and one of the most important poets of the Spanish language, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. Please join us at Alamosa Books on June 9, at 7 p.m. to welcome this important poet to Albuquerque and help celebrate this comprehensive collection.

Comment by Dee Cohen on June 3, 2012 at 10:04am

Thank you for these poems Susan. I very much like how they connect with each other: the choices we make and their implications. Love the idea of 'changing direction.' A good thought to keep in mind.

Hey, you're doing great Rich! Dee 

Comment by Merimee Moffitt on June 7, 2012 at 10:47pm

yes, I love the very real images and closeness to each in a cellular way--nice.  would like to hear more.  see u June 9 7pm alamosa

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