Dedication for VONA 2013

If You Lose Your Pen – by Ruth Forman, whose words i hear

and all you find is a broken pencil on the floor
and the pencil has no sharpener
and the sharpener is in the store
and your pocket has no money

and if you look again
and all you find is a black Bic
and the Bic you need is green

and if it appears beneath the mattress of your couch
but the couch is dirty and you suddenly want to clean
beneath the pillows
but you have no vacuum and the vacuum is in the store
and your pocket has no money

it is not your pen you are looking for

it is your tongue and those who speak with it
your grandmothers and doves and ebony spiders
hovering the corners of your throat

it is your tongue
and if you cannot find your tongue
do not go looking for the cat
you know you will not find her
she is in the neighbor’s kitchen eating Friskies
she is in the neighbor’s yard making love

if you cannot find your tongue do not look for it
for you are so busy looking it cannot find you
the doves are getting dizzy and your grandmother’s annoyed
be still and let them find you
they will come when they are ready

and when they are
it will not matter if your pockets are empty
if you write with a green or a black Bic
or the blood of your finger
you will write
you will write

***

Lots of folks been asking me about Voices of Our Nation (VONA) 2013. I hope that poem is an answer. Gratitude for the folks who make it happen: a miracle which I know can be back-breaking — who donate their time to us without getting paid, who donate their time when they could be making money, who donate their energy when they don’t have enuf time. To Bonne Marie Bautista, Kira Allen, Learkana Chong, all the volunteers, the SOS Fundraiser crew (Selma, Yosmay, Melissa, etc.), the mad inspiring VONA faculty, my residency crew with David Mura, all VONA 2013 participants, all the co-founders of VONA, especially Elmaz Abinader and Diem Jones, to my community in grief and in joy: Thank you.

FN1: (and to Junot for biting my shoulder and holding my hand)

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