Gratitude to Robert Hansen aka the mastermind behind Poems-For-All for inviting me to write a poem for Ukraine. It was an honor to accept the invitation to be part of this important series of works, and a learning opportunity to do a deep study of both Ukraine & the sunflower. Many thanks for these little books that sing & delight in their form & rigor. How they remind me of a child’s game we once played on the sidewalks of Bensonhurst, telling fortunes, & cackling secrets.
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My poem about losing yourself in a first love that doesn’t honor you is up at The Hunger. Self-Esteem has a long history – this poem has been declined over 30 times by numerous journals; this poem has been plagiarized by a former friend & classmate who betrayed, lied, & gaslit me about it, even after their publisher sided with me; this poem has finally found a home in a journal among beautiful, brave, strong work who honor one another in proximity & solidarity.
Transformation is the great life integer. As discomfiting and tenuous as it sounds, we move through phases & changes as we become & become again. During this unique life cycle where we are being invited/forced to stretch & grow more than usual, I wondered how/if poets were getting through, & what it might look like to cohere these visions.
I reached out to various poets & writers to submit work on the theme of transformation, some of whom I did not know at all, and in doing so, developed & deepened a few relationships with poets I had long admired. This too became an opportunity for stretching outside my own comfort zones.
Each of these works takes as its fulcrum the concept of transformation. In each of these poems, there is a turning; a decisive pivot of the will to consider or become something other than human; some process by which we might transmogrify into a greater understanding; by which we might at once be immersed and immerse our cells & light into a great organism. Might this be a homecoming, might this signal at last a belonging?
So, gentle reader – transform with us, eat “serviceberries fresh from the shrub”, visit “white skulls resting on the sage-covered desert”, “learn to communicate those languages. Breathe this all in. Hrim: seed mantra.”, “the songs of abolitionists & those bold enough to dream”, “to make wings out of no thing but air and steel”, “here is a wish and the wish is love”, “…to admit that I just wanted to go somewhere and be if not normal then in context”, “We will wear the agates Their inscriptions Cracked from Wildfire”, “may we fall into mouths that devour us.”