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Ode To What We Make

By Kathy Engel

Praise the words and what
defies words, the mamas and
fathers, all the beloveds
who hold and steer us,
walk, crawl or leap with us,
ghost us, as we again, still –
whoever, however, wherever –
lumber, stomp, whisper, yell,
reaching up out of mud, in our
ancient infancy, into verse
from blackened earth
to silver sky, green and
brown stalks climbing towards
a tenderness we can hold
ragged as rope, an oath of at least
one truth, praise each tendril,
the landay and its daring, a
thousand palms heating open,
the body scraping through muck
and mist to find its form, each
train track, wheel, grind, snag
of life beneath any line, praise
the whiff of song and the spitting
out, the recall and the 2 am
rant, the naked planet of
iteration, the lyric’s rugged
boot sole, the crimp, cut, throw-
away, praise the lantern and
damning fluorescence, the
wane and constant flicker,
the parenthesis, the lost ellipse
and praise the longed for moon
casting the night, the heaving rain,
its wet coat, praise each alphabet’s
lonely letter clamoring for light,
resisting the end of memory, the
end of touch, each cell and clot
still alive in any language,
still gorgeous, to be invented,
praise the clumsiness of this
word sharpening its animal teeth
for the love of the cub.

Added: Thursday, January 19, 2017  /  Used with permission. Part of a special Poem of the Week collection on January 20, 2017 featuring six poems in conversation with the 2017 Presidential Inauguration of Donald Trump.
Kathy Engel

Kathy Engel is a lifelong poet/activist/teacher. She has co founded numerous political/cultural/educational organizations including MADRE, The Hayground School, East End Women in Black, Riptide Communications, and most recently, with Alexis De Veaux, Lyrical Democracies. She is Chair and Associate Arts Professor of the Tisch School of the Arts Department of Art & Public Policy. Recent poems appear in Poet Lore, Poetry, and Women's Voices for Change. Engel was a featured poet at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2012.

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