Sunday, February 18, 2018

"Today We Read Anzaldua"

“Today We Read Anzaldúa”

Today we read Anzaldúa.
Shakespeare and Chaucer sat
quietly in the back of the room
ceding the stage to the New Mestiza
and her wild, untamed tongue.

New vocabulary words were posted
on the board: Nepantla, Nahuatl,
Latinx, and intersectionality,
instead of iambic pentameter or alliteration.

We traveled through her borderlands,
with me as an untrained guide.
with my students walking beside me,
not in front or behind, coaching me
Spanish as I coached them with English.

Teaching is throwing seeds as widely as
you can and hoping some take root. Today
I taught not for the front row, but
for the quiet girl in the back
with the Bowie T-shirt,
and the rainbow suspenders.

Messages come in strange vessels:
a glass bottle may contain an ancient cry fir help,
 a burning bush may be aflame with
the word of God, an angel in a beam of light
may tell a virgin she is with child,
or a middle-aged white man
may be the first to say to these seniors,

“Today we will read Anzaldúa.”

Monday, April 17, 2017

Scarecrow

I see you shuffle across the parking lot,
hands in pockets, thin shoulders raised
like wings to your ear lobes,
your face angled down to see
the ground just before your shoes,
the fringe of your hair blowing from
under your stocking hat.

You’re thin now. So thin
the wind wraps your pants
against the poles of your legs,
your shirt blows in to the concave
of your stomach like a sail on
a ship going backwards.

I loved you once, and you loved me,
back when you took your meds
and accepted my kisses.  You were
the Scarecrow and I was the Cowardly
Lion. As long as we were still,
we were okay. No witches in the
sky; we never looked up. No yellow
brick road; we never left home.

But then a funnel cloud grew in
your mind, and I, everything,
became great and terrible, and your winged
monkeys began to shriek again in
the echoing caverns of your brain
and when you drew back the curtain
there was nothing there-no nothing at all.

Now it has been years, and I
sit in my car and watch you
talk to grackles and check coin returns
for change in the superstore parking lot.
I watch through my car windshield,
and I tell myself,“There’s no place like home.”

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Ash Wednesday

I want to lick my thumb, and rub the ashes off
your perfect forehead. The priest who drew
it there probably licked his lips in anticipation
as you shuffled up the aisle, scuffing the church carpet
with your brand-new Vans, shuffling between grandmothers,
to have oil and ash smeared on your innocent
face by the trembling hands of a priest,
who probably forgot all his prayers
while gazing at the curve of your upper lip.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Memory

Memory
Just as a beach will remember the tide
long after the ocean that once ravished
it daily has ascended to air and
joined the clouds, so I will remember
the insistence of your mouth on mine,
the way your hands clutched like starfish
to my back as I moved both over and
within you, breathing your breath, matching
my thrusts to your heartbeat, till for one
moment, brief and eternal, we are
one.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The "Don"

The Donald sat on his golden throne,
convinced there was nothing he could not own.
"No matter what! I shall not be beat!"
was what this madman was prone to tweet.
"I'll prove that America will swallow my lies
while a fact checker onto his laptop cries.
America's impressed with all my billions!
And just by shouting I can sway millions!"

Deep underground, was a red little fellow,
who said, "Who is this guy with hair like orange jello?
He lies more than me! And I'm lord of Untruth!
I cant let this happen! He"s way too uncouth!"

The next day in Ohio , near a town named Dayton,
a man named Trump met  a devil named Satan.
"Let me see your green card!" Trump loudly bellowed.
"I'll have you deported! Don't come here and freeload"

"I'm welcome everywhere! No borders for me!
Come along Mr. Trump! Dont try to flee!
You're coming with me to my fiery home.
I've got a cell waiting in a great catacomb."

A lesson to learn-a key to survival
the devil don't play wirh those he deems rivals.
So don't tell lies!  Don't tell them at all!
And don't tell Mexico to pay for a wall!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Salted Caramel

This is interesting (at least to me).  For the first time ever, I "work shopped" a poem. This basically means people read my poem and discussed it in front of me. I took their suggestions to heart. You can compare this version to the one I published on September 25. Please don't overwhelm Blogger's server in your rush to do so:

Salted Caramel by Michael Gerleman

I bought a salted caramel,
plucked it from a bowl by the cash register.
I was attracted to the brown glow under the
white wax paper, and the caramel drops
seeping from the slit in the wrapping were
as promising as locking eyes with a stranger.

I swear I wasn’t thinking of you.
But when I popped the brown sweetness
in my mouth, suddenly the salty sweetness,
the smooth, firm, yet yielding body of
the caramel, reminded me of
my tongue probing hollow of your neck,
the salt on your skin
at the end of the day,
and my mouth making you release
your salty sweetness to me.




Sunday, September 25, 2016

Salted Caramel 1

Salted Caramel by Michael Gerleman
I bought a salted caramel,
plucked it from a bowl by the cash register.
I was attracted to the brown glow under the
white wax paper, and the caramel drops
seeping from the slit in the wrapping were
as promising as locking eyes with a stranger.

I swear I wasn’t thinking of you.
But when I popped the brown sweetness
in my mouth and began to probe it
with my tongue, the salty sweetness,
the smooth, firm, yet yielding body of
the caramel, reminded me, oh my lost love,
of my tongue in the hollow of your neck,
the salt on your skin at the end of the day,
and how my mouth could make you
dissolve, make you release your

salty sweetness to me.