Poetry Section: Promising Poems

Before you begin to read these talented and promising poets, ask yourself what is a poem? At Write From Wrong, we can tell you that a poem on the surface is whatever the reader interprets it to be; however, it can have a much more lasting affect. If you can answer the aforementioned question after reading these paced poems by Amanda Jimenez, Simon Perchik, Joanna Kurowska, Siddharth Katragadda, and Hope Houghton, then these poems along with the poets who wrote them have done their job.

Thank the muses from all over the world and enjoy these poems.

Amanda Jimenez
Learning Salsa
for Papi

Your feet shuffled back and forth,
front to back, your nose in my hair.
I was swaddled on your left shoulder,
limp with new life.

You put a hand on my head,
rested the other fingers lightly
on my soft back.
When I grow up we will dance
and you will remind me to arch my back slightly,
step back, and hold my partner’s hand
high because salsa is form—
strength against your partner’s push.

You closed your eyes, felt
my lashes on your neck slowly drop to sleep,
and the needle played on that same track,
traced the song’s line over and over,
until the music stopped
and you could either flip the record,
or let the song repeat.

After Paul Gauguin’s “Moon and the Earth”

-I made you breakfast this morning:
Crunchy branches and soft fogs, agua y aire.
The sun, like a just awakened lover, coaxed
night’s shadows down my body, lightening
the darkness of time down my stubborn legs. Quietly
I crept from our unity to create you a world:
El cielo, red like sleepy eyes, flowers open, green noodles woven
In forked petals and rivers empty into horizons, like your fluffed hair,
dormido. I have poured myself into this chair
when I spot you: beautiful and stern like woman.

-Como he trabajado, mujer! Creiste que estaba durmiendo
Pero estaba sonando: desperte en un silencio que
Era como arroz quemado: echado a perder pero delicioso.
Te vi de lejos, bailando como agua en el viento,
Como padre, criando. Siempre te enamoras
Del sol pero tu tierra no ha perdonado esos abusos.
Esperas mi suave soccoro cuando el te abandona.
Tus gritos callados me despiertan. Abro mis ojos y
Te encuentro, dormida en tu trono,
Brillante y acostumbrada como un hombre.

    How I have worked for you, woman! You thought I was sleeping
    But I was dreaming: I woke up in a silence
    Was like burnt rice: lost but delicious.
    I saw you from far away, dancing like water in the wind,
    Raising like a parent. You always fall in love
    With the sun but your land has not forgiven those abuses.
    You await my cool salvation when your lover leaves.
    Your hushed screams awake me. I open my eyes and
    Find you, sleepy in your throne,
    Brilliant and content like a man.

“This is what I will say to you when you try to hit on me”

I will say hello,
And I will blink.

Ask me my name,
My name is
The one who’s drinking wine because her dad told her women don’t drink beer,

Yes, I am Latina.
And you are correct to assume
That, as a Latina, I will do
Wild things in bed. I can
Roll my hips in more ways
than Picasso could know
What to do with.

What do I expect from you?
When you meet my family you will realize
That you will never be as important,
And if you question that
your identity will be put into question.

In addition–
I expect
that every month,
you will rub my lower back,
because I am still expelling your child.

When you talk to me,
you will respect me. I may not know
What day of the month is the harvest moon
According to the Mayan year,
But I can write a poem to collapse your world,
I can turn my tongue into
5 dialects, a millions ways of thinking,
and infinite ways to love and hate you.

You will be questioned, searched, fondled,
Devoured, fed, humiliated, humbled, satisfied,
and every word
out of your mouth will hurt me.

You should know that I’m fucked up.

You will love me even if death wedges us apart.
One day you may take my name,
But my voice will remain mine,

So, before walking up to me, you should know:
I will fuck you

BIO: Amanda Jimenez was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. After going to undergraduate school at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland, she decided to come back north and pursue her MFA in Creative Writing. Her poetry has evolved throughout her time at Emerson College. However, her long lasting obsession is the role of women in cultures, the intersection of individual and society—all wrapped up in magical realism.
Currently, she lives in Boston and graduates in May 2011.

Simon Perchik

Not the kind ponds pull up, the ice
comes from your hair, starts
in this dry bread, the empty cup
while my hands scrape your cheeks
and crumbs falling across :the snow
breaking away, the sky less and less

–not just your mouth, the floe
is weightless, hovers over this tablecloth
and in its center all those galaxies
circling down, tighter and tighter
for the little heat that’s left.

Did you have curls?

The cold never gives up once it touches
the dirt that’s known you all its life
–you’re used to how this feeble cup
sends for you, for the light
the sun chased off :each morning
held close to my lips –one kiss
another, then another, peeling back
the frost, the motionless Earth

the shadows –you’ve never forgotten
this fragrance, this loaf so close
shattered the way a lost star
still flashes, almost finding
your eyebrows and the drifts.

All this ocean and still more thirst
–the Earth longing for rain
the way trees have never forgotten
the sun wants its leaves returned

–it’s natural you number these stones
to dampen your lips, count the nights
it did not rain –your fingers kept open
drop by drop in your small, red pail.

What you collect from this beach
surrounds the Earth that sees itself
in the rain still on its way
still further than the stars

–before the first rain
those stones already gathered
must have known their clouds
would settle on your lips
as drought :the dim breath
that welcomed you and season.

Though every evening
he’d wipe the window
as if its memory
was the event itself, reborn
and the willing scratch-marks
he counted the weeks with

-he lives for rain
would fill his mailbox
and the damp rags
smelling from clouds

-all these years
the almost, never opened
tossed, become the sky
they used to be

-just one single-minded window
bathing it the way a windshield
finds room -a porous glass

and pieces circling down
as still more rain :minutes
to repair the stalled arithmetic
the fires one upon the other.

BIO: Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The New Yorker and elsewhere. For more information, including his essay “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” and a complete bibliography, please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.

Joanna Kurowska
the glass wall
to my Father

you are in the unimaginable
words reach you there, changed

they convey messages unsent
they put on faces unmade

inadvertently superior because
I can still use the bathroom on my own

you’ll get better—you’ll see, I say
dearest—I love you—I’ll pray—

suddenly your pupils do not hide
under the skull; you are back

your spark still flickering softly;
like an infant before his first scare

you sign behind your glass wall:
all I’ve wanted is love—love—is—all—

death and resurrection

the sermon is
on death and resurrection

near the altar
two little girls dance

holding their hands
they sing
merrily: death
and resurrection death
and resurrection death…

dressed up for the church
in her best pink robe
death rises from her pew
to tell the little girls

be quiet

BIO: Joanna Kurowska is a bi-lingual poet. Two books of her poetry, Ściana (‘The Wall’), 1997 and Obok (‘Near’), 1999, appeared in Poland. A number of her Polish poems appeared also in journals, including Kultura (Paris), Temat, Przegląd Powszechny, and, recently, Fraza. She emigrated to the US nearly twenty-two years ago. She currently write in English. Her English-language poems have appeared in Bateau, Christianity and Literature, Concise Delight, International Poetry Review, New York Quarterly (forthcoming), Oklahoma Review, Penwood Review, Strong Verse, and Vineyards. She has taught language and literature at American universities, including the University of Chicago and Indiana University.

Siddharth Katragadda
The Blue Krishna

As kids, my brothers and I would climb to the top of the tall green gate and
use its heavy rusted iron bolt to grind seed with. What we used the seed
for, I don’t quite remember. It is too far back for something so trivial.
What is not trivial, something so permanent in the mind’s eye, something
I would never have to go back for, was the view on the other side, visible
only from atop the gate.
One day, we got to the top, scratching our knees along the way, and peeped
over the wall. Nothing stirred there but for a blue mynah that sat on the
carefully laid garden and cooed some nature-orchestrated song to the hot,
windless summer afternoon. A fountain stood in the middle of the garden,
dried up, veiled in a blanket of leaf-green moss, shriveled creepers
crawling all over it. A statue of Lord Krishna danced in the middle,
playing his flute to invisible cows that seemed to materialize in our vision,
a soft song rising in the air. He had skin the color of the cloudless azure
sky above. Wasn’t he dark skinned? Why the blue? Was it euphemism, in a
land where to have dark skin was to be a sinner in a previous life, a way of
repaying the curses of your karma.
The unmoving smile etched on Krishna’s face lit up in our eyes as we
watched, the fountain springing to life around the statue.
We fell back, onto the patio.
On holi day, when we tired ourselves by spraying colored water on each
other until our bodies glimmered in all shades of rosy twilights and
slategreen, and our shirts clung to our bodies, our privates, wet and cold
from the dampness – multicolored, for that was where the colors collected,
we were struck by an idea.
We climbed the gate to the top of the wall, got onto the other side. Lord
Krishna watched us intently. We rubbed color into the palms of our hands
and stepped forward, our hearts beating like Shiva’s dholak in our chests.
We aimed our water pistols filled with color at him, and four away,
distance enough for our little bare feet, if we needed to scoot, we let out a
scream and shot our pistols. The colored water hit the Lord’s face. The
blue of his skin melted down his body, mixing with the yellow, red and
green. In our vision his smile vanished, wiped away by astonishment,
Then, it reemerged and regained its stagnancy. We danced and pranced
around, clapping joyfully, a silent fear chocking our throats. What if Lord
Krishna cursed us for our crime? What if he sent his chakra flying that
very moment to take our sinful heads off?
What if we, like him, we cursed with dark skin in our next lives?

Holi: festival of color
dholak: Traditional Indian percussion instrument
chakra: A disk with serrations

BIO: Siddharth Katragadda is the author of two award-winning volumes of poetry (San Diego Book Awards, 2002 &2003). His work has appeared in Writer’s Monthly, Chaffey Review, A Generation Defining Itself, Golden Thoughts, Boston Poet and Sulekha. His work has been reviewed in newspapers/magazines like the Best Reviews and Suite101.

Hope Houghton
“Alice In The Trunk”

guess what, time is convulsing, heaving
forcing you in rewind one more time
now feel it, oxygen is gone, life is dying
and you can’t stop your body from shaking

i’m suffering, bursting into flames
as sunlight hits me, voices kick me
faces punch me, and mr. past kills me
lost so much blood, can never heal
so i’ve got to keep still now
just don’t move, don’t breathe again

i see her, you know, everywhere
well, echoes of her anyway
girls with sports cars
smokes, harley stickers
and alice in the trunk
they’ll never know devastation as i do
controlling and driving their men
to their knees in the moonlight
the motel and matt’s funeral service
she said i would never know love
do you think she cursed me

got fifteen seconds of salvation
before i remembered everything
smoldering coffin girl, trapped
swirling inside a snow globe
dead apple seeds float by
as he knocks on the glass
tinting me blue some more
and throws me to the floor

wound-up boy, couldn’t stop the urge
are you saying this was my fault
zipped up to the throat in filth
trying to pick his threads off
but i keep gaining dirt and stains
stop, get him off me, get all of him off me
shh, you know he won’t come off

tragedy and me sit frozen in the snow
distant church bells spit at us
wonder why i wasted my years
devils carved into chapel walls
stained-glass god and son and
daniel’s fear of four horsemen
all inside a child’s storybook
was i wrong to expect so much

BIO: Hope Houghton currently resides in North Carolina with her family. She began writing poetry at a young age to express her emotions. Her passion for writing forced her to obtain an undergraduate degree in English literature and to continue writing to connect with her feelings. She has had numerous poems published in different poetry collections and literary journals. She has also been given awards for her achievement in poetry.

2 Responses to “Poetry Section: Promising Poems”
  1. monetpt says:

    Amanda collapsed my world with her poem. *slow clap

Check out what others are saying...
  1. Slam | says:

    […] Amanda Jimenez’s slam poem, “This is what I will say to you when you try to hit on me” on Write from Wrong, that I decided to give it a shot. The following is an experiment. Please judge/critique/dislike […]

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