April is National Poetry Month, and these are poems selected by our student employees.
Selections by Josh Hart
who by the time it arrived
had made its plan heretofore
stonewall it had not a penny
thats not true it had several pennies
In the invitation, I tell them for the
(the fourth in writing), that I am gay.
I like to say we left at first light
with Chairman Mao himself chasing us in a police car,
my father fighting him off with firecrackers,
even though Mao was already over a decade
dead, & my mother says all my father did
during the Cultural Revolution was teach math,
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close
Rage, rage against the dying of the
Selections by Aiyana Bolar
she says & it’s the first time
the word doesn’t hurt. I respond
by citing something age-inappropriate
from Aristotle, drawing mostly
from his idea that hands are what make
For President Václav Havel
It is essential that Summer be grafted
bones marrow earth clouds blood the
eyes of our ancestors.
It is essential to smell the beginning
words where Washington, Madison,
Adams, Jefferson assembled amid cries
“The people lack of
“We grow more and
“This Constitution is a
“Blacks are property”
It is essential to remember how cold
how warm the snow snapping
around the ragged feet of soldiers and
It is essential to string the sky
with the saliva of Slavs and
Germans and Anglos and French
and Italians and Scandinavians,
and Spaniards and Mexicans and Poles
and Africans and Native Americans.
It is essential that we always repeat:
we the people,
we the people,
we the people.
Taped to the wall of my cell are 47 pictures: 47 black
faces: my father, mother, grandmothers (1 dead), grand-
fathers (both dead), brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts,
cousins (1st and 2nd), nieces, and nephews. They stare
across the space at me sprawling on my bunk. I know
their dark eyes, they know mine. I know their style,
they know mine. I am all of them, they are all of me;
they are farmers, I am a thief, I am me, they are thee.
I have at one time or another been in love with my mother,
1 grandmother, 2 sisters, 2 aunts (1 went to the asylum),
and 5 cousins. I am now in love with a 7-yr-old niece
(she sends me letters in large block print, and
her picture is the only one that smiles at me).
I have the same name as 1 grandfather, 3 cousins, 3 nephews,
and 1 uncle. The uncle disappeared when he was 15, just took
off and caught a freight (they say). He’s discussed each year
when the family has a reunion, he causes uneasiness in
the clan, he is an empty space. My father’s mother, who is 93
and who keeps the Family Bible with everbody’s birth dates
(and death dates) in it, always mentions him. There is no
place in her Bible for “whereabouts unknown.”
(for ifa, p.t., & bisa)
my father is a retired magician
which accounts for my irregular
everythin comes outta magic hats
or bottles wit no bottoms & parakeets
are as easy to get as a couple a rabbits
or 3 fifty cent pieces/ 1958
once, while on a coke binge,
and away from my mother,
my father drove his car
across the sand
and into the pacific ocean.
before he had done that,
he had given away
all of his possessions,
a steak dinner.
Selections by Bushra Moghram
This Bridge Across by Christopher Gilbert (entire poem)
A moment comes to me
and it’s a lot like the dead
who get in the way sometimes
hanging around, with their ranks
growing bigger by the second
and the game of tag they play
claiming whoever happens by.
The world is a beautiful place to be born into if you don’t mind happiness not always being so very much fun if you don’t mind a touch of hell now and then just when everything is fine because even in heaven they don’t sing all the time
Selections by Ian Russell
Villanelle by Otto Leland Bohanan (entire poem)
How dreary the winds shriek and whine:
The trembling shadows grow chill.
O soul of my soul, wert thou mine!
Death of an Old Seaman by Langston Hughes (entire poem)
We buried him high on a windy hill,
But his soul went out to sea.
Comparison by Paul Laurence Dunbar (entire poem)
The sky of brightest gray seems dark
To one whose sky was ever white.
To one who never knew a spark,
Thro’ all his life, of love or light,
The grayest cloud seems over-bright.
It’s a Long Way by William Stanley Braithwaite (entire poem)
It’s a long way the sea-winds blow
Over the sea-plains blue,—
But longer far has my heart to go
Before its dreams come true.
Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost (entire poem)
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.