I've known Don since the late 80s when I ventured out to one of the original poetry venues in search for inspiration for my poetry spewing self. Don was a teenager seemingly hanging out in a crowd of mostly male, loud funny and talented spoken word poets. I didn't come back for years, but when I did, with students who were often assigned in my English classes to get out into the scen and listen, or speak, or shout, cry, write and be heard, Don was there saying that old, and white, and female wasn't necessarily to my disadvantage. He gave me heads up on events I might enjoy. They were all (Tony S., Danny S., Hakim B., Manny, Kenn, Eric,) nice to me. This was a big deal to me and I want to thank Don for that encouragement. Of course, they all went ape shit when I brought them Jessica. Zach K. and Jessica were in one of my classes and took to the scene like it was home sweet home. It's an interwoven community, these poets, and Don was integral in keeping it rolling, broadly national, hugely local, and eventually, not quite so sexist.
So here's a sampling of some of Don's newer work. The hard work of writing poetry does respond well to years of effort.
--for the victims of the Orlando Night Club shooting June 12, 2016,
living and dead--
From my desk, I see the mouse scamper across the kitchen floor.
With his ears pinned back, he scurries across and disappears
under the stove or the fridge,
somehow avoiding the trap that I placed on what would've been his straightest path.
I look over at the sleeping dog and ask,
"And you can't even be bothered to try?"
“Nope,” I imagine she says.
Mouse-killing is clearly in this human’s job description not hers.
Decades ago, our dogs came with us to the Catwalk Trail in southwest New Mexico.
Hugging the side, the trail hangs above the Whitewater canyon floor as metal grates.
Suspended above the floor, our dogs looked up at us in awe.
Hesistant, at first, I suspected then that they lacked the visual
acuity to notice the grates that mark the path,
and felt as if we levitated them,
walked up the canyon as if we walked on air.
If only miracles were that easy?
I want a miracle today.
I want this numbness and powerlessness to drop down below me
as if I can levitate above the news.
From my desk, I type these words
after hearing the news of yet another mass shooting.
I pour through my social media and take in the outrage,
empathy, speculations, and pain
and wonder how much of me is in a killer who
stepped into a night club armed with weapons and opened up
making it seem as easy as setting a capful of peanut butter at the back of a trap
that electrocutes the mouse that has chosen to call my kitchen home.
Death is not a miracle
and we walk on as if living is levitating.
Keep living, I tell myself, for that is the only solace that makes sense today.
June 12, 2016
Basic Human Needs Award winning poet, Don McIver is a six time member of the ABQ slam team, an award winning host/producer of KUNM’s Spoken Word Hour, the author of The Blank Page, The Noisy Pen, and editor of A Bigger Boat: The Unlikely Success of the Albuquerque Poetry Slam Scene. He’s performed all over the United States, produced, curated, and hosted poetry events big and small including the Bravos Award Winning 2005 National Poetry Slam, and been published in numerous magazines and anthologies including Harwood Anthology, Shine On You Crazy Diamond: Poems by Teens and their Mentors, Earthships: A New Mecca Poetry Anthology, Poems from the Big Muddy: NPS 2004, Looking Back to Place, and How to....Multiple Perspectives on Creating a Garden, a Life, Relationships and Community and Fixed and Free Poetry Anthology..
The DitchRider’s Sunday Poem on Duke City Fix is accepting submissions of 3 to 5 of your favorite poems. Please send in a word doc to firstname.lastname@example.org ; be sure to put DitchRider in the subject line and include a short bio and a few pictures from which I may select. Please, also, send any links or notices of events. Your name on the poems seems to be very useful! Thanks in advance from Merimee. I will get back to you within the shortest framework I can muster.